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Elgaria panamintina (STEBBINS, 1958)

IUCN Red List - Elgaria panamintina - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Gerrhonotinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Panamint Alligator Lizard 
SynonymGerrhonotus panamintinus STEBBINS 1958: 2
Gerrhonotus panamintinus — WERMUTH 1969: 26
Gerrhonotus panamintinus — STEBBINS 1985: 165
Elgaria panamintina — GOOD 1988: 76
Elgaria panamintina — GOOD 1988: 154
Elgaria panamintina — CROTHER 2000
Elgaria panamintina — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009 
DistributionUSA (E California)

Type locality: Surprise Canyon, at an elevation of 4500 feet, on the west side of the Panamint Mountains, Inyo County, California.  
TypesHolotype: MVZ 65410, collected by James McDonald, Jr., October 23,1954. 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: Size of adults large, probably commonly over 100 mm in snout to vent length; transverse rows of dorsal scales, 44 to 47; number of keeled longitudinal rows of dorsal scales,10 or 12; scales of temporal region and forelimbs smooth; complete crossbands on body, exclusive of tail, eight or nine; juveniles contrastingly marked with light and dark cross bands; ventral surfaces whitish, with gray spots at middle or sides of scales, forming iregularly arranged blotches; iris pale yellow (Stebbins 1958).

COMPARISONS: Gerhonotus panamintinus appears to be more closely related to G.multicarinatus and G. kingi than to G. coeruleus. Characteristics shared with multicarinatuts and kingi and in which it differs from coeruleus are as follows: 1. Although only two adults are available, it appears likely that panamintinus averages larger than coerulets. 2. In the individual with intact tail, the tail is close to two times the snout to vent length and contains 122 whorls of scales. In coeruleus the tail is often less than twice the snout to vent length, and the number of whorls is usually fewer than 114. 3. As is usually true in multicarinatus and kingi, there are 14 dorsal scale rows, whereas in coeruleus there are usually 16. 4. The scales on the lower sides of the tail are not keeled, whereas they are in adult coeruleus. 5. Adults are marked with regular, easily counted cross bands. 6. In coeruleus there is considerable melanic pigmentation of the iris, whereas in panamintinus the iris is pale yellow without extensive melanic pigment.
Gerrhonotus panaminitinus differs from G. multicarinatus in having reduced keeling of scales on the head, limbs, and tail, in its generally paler coloration, broad regular cross bands, weak black and white markings on the sides of the body, pale iris, irregular ventral markings, and banded young. From kingi it differs in having longer legs, fewer transverse rows of dorsal scales, a greater number of keeled dorsal rows on the body and tail, generally fewer and paler cross bands (fig. 2), absence of prominent dark and light barring on sides, lack of dark and light markings on the labials, and a pale yellow rather than pink iris (seetable3).
There is little overlap between panamintinus and kingi in number of cross bands on the body and no overlap between panamintinus and multicarinatus (Table4).
Bands were counted from immediately behind the occiput to a line connecting the anterior border of the thighs. Any band with its posterior margin extending posterior to the groin was excluded. The cross bands and interspaces in panamintinus appear to average slightly wider than in kingi. The greater number of bands in kingi appears to be correlated with proportionately greater body length. The specimens of multicarinatus used in the study of banding came from Oregon, central California, and Baja California, and of kingi, from Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico.
The markings of a specimen of multicarinatus from Crystal Creek Ranch, 6 miles south of Lucerne Valley (town), San Bernardino County, California, are noteworthy. Although in other respects this individual appears to resemble multicarinatus closely, in banding it is much like panamintinus. The bands are broad, have nearly even posterior borders, and contrast markedly with the ground color. The closest resemblance to this type of banding seen elsewhere occurs in an individual from Caliente Creek, Kern County, California. Like Crystal Creek this is a semi-arid locality.
Gerrhonotus panamintinus differs from G. cedrosensis and G. paucicarinatus, close relatives of G. multicarinatus, in its larger size and pattern of broad pale cross bands, scattered ventral markings, and les contrasting black and white markings on the sides of the body. It differs from G. liocephalus in arrangement of the scutellation of the nose and side of the head, reduced keeling, and in lacking contrasting light and dark markings in the cross bands. From members of the Barisia and A bronia groups (as recognized by Tihen, 1949b) in Mexico and Central America, it differs in the characters mentioned on page 16 as distinguishing these groups of gerrhonotine lizards (Stebbins 1958). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Leavitt et al. 2017: Fig. 1. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Banta B H; Mahrdt C R; Beaman K R 1996. Elgaria panamintina. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 629: 1-4 - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. and T. W. Taggart 2009. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Sixth Edition. Center for North American Herpetology, 48 pp.
  • Good, D.A. 1988. Allozyme Variation and Phylogenetic Relationships among the Species of Elgaria (Squamata: Anguidae) Herpetologica 44 (2): 154-162. - get paper here
  • Good, D.A. 1988. Phylogenetic relationships among gerrhonotine lizards; an analysis of external morphology. Univ. California Publ. Zool. 121: 139 pp. - get paper here
  • Jones, L.L. & Lovich, R.E. 2009. Lizards of the American Southwest. A photographic field guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ, 568 pp. [review in Reptilia 86: 84] - get paper here
  • Leavitt, D.H., Marion, A.B., Hollingsworth, B.D., Reeder, T.W. 2017. Multilocus phylogeny of alligator lizards (Elgaria, Anguidae): Testing mtDNA introgression as the source of discordant molecular phylogenetic hypotheses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Parker, J. M. and S. Brito 2013. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mojave Desert: A Field Guide. Snell Press, 184 pp. [ISBN 9780985577117]
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1958. A new alligator lizard from the Panamint Mountains, Inyo County, California. American Museum Novitates (1883): 2 - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Thomson, Robert C.; Amber N. Wright & H. Bradley Shaffer 2016. California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern. University of California Press - get paper here
  • Toffelmier, Erin Maurine 2019. Landscape and Conservation Genetics of Amphibians and Reptiles in California. PhD thesis, UCLA - get paper here
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