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Elgaria paucicarinata (FITCH, 1934)

IUCN Red List - Elgaria paucicarinata - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Gerrhonotinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: San Lucan Alligator Lizard
S: Lagarto de Cuatro Patitas 
SynonymGerrhonotus paucicarinatus FITCH 1934: 173
Gerrhonotus multicarinatus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1939: 404 (fide FITCH 1938)
Gerrhonotus paucicarinatus — FITCH 1938
Elgaria paucicarinata — TIHEN 1949: 595
Elgaria paucicarinata — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 206
Gerrhonotus paucicarinatus — WERMUTH 1969: 26
Gerrhonotus paucicarinatus — STEBBINS 1985: 241
Elgaria paucicarinata — GOOD 1988: 77
Elgaria paucicarinata — LINER 1994: 47 
DistributionMexico (S Baja California)

Type locality: Todos Santos, Baja California.  
TypesHolotype: MVZ 11768 (Mus. Vert. Zool. UC) 
DiagnosisDiagnostic characters. Size relatively small (head and body length less than 100 mm. in adults); 50 or more transverse scale rows from ear to back of thigh; plates on top of head smooth; scales on upper arm and sides of tail smooth; labial region transversely marked with black and white; lateral fold white with reticulations of black; dorsal longitudinal scale rows on body either 16 or 14 (Fitch 1934).

DEFINITION. A relatively small species of Gerrhonotus (maximum snout-vent length about 110 mm), with dorsal scales in 14 to 16 longitudinal rows and 49 to 53 transverse rows. Eight middorsal scale rows are moderately keeled on the body and tail; scales on the sides of the body are slightly keeled. Lateral caudals, temporals, and upper arm scales are smooth. Scales on the upper side of the thigh and lateral side of the tibia are keeled. The interoccipital is single, and there are usually eight postnasals. The ground color is brown to gray-olive. The head is variably marked with dark brown, and a temporal band is present in some individuals. In adults, the body is marked with eleven to thirteen irregular dark bands that include white-tipped scales on the sides. The lateral fold is white to light gray, traversed by irregular dark bars extending from the bands of the sides. Some adults have a broad, bronze-colored longitudinal band and reduced transverse bands. Adults have alternating black and white markings on the labials, giving the face a striped appearance. Juveniles have a broad, bronze-colored longitudinal dorsal band (from Lais 1976). 
CommentSubspecies: Elgaria paucicarinata cedrosensis (FITCH 1934) has been elevated to full (evolutionary) species fide GRISMER & HOLLINGSWORTH 2001.

Distribution: see maps in GRISMER & HOLLINGSWORTH 2001, Leavitt et al. 2017: Fig. 1.

One of the diagnostic characters for E. paucicarinata is that it is weakly keeled (Good, 1988). However, lizards of the central peninsular population are strongly keeled, and large adults approach the condition found in E. multicarinata. 
  • Fitch, H.S. 1934. A shift of specific names in the genus Gerrhonotus. Copeia 1934 (4): 172-173 - get paper here
  • Fitch, H.S. 1938. A Systematic Account of the Alligator Lizards (Gerrhonotus) in the Western United States and Lower California. American Midland Naturalist 20: 381-424 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. L.; McGuire, J. A. 1993. The oases of central Baja California, Mexico. Part I. A preliminary account of the relict mesophilic herpetofauna and the status of the oases. Bull. Southern California Acad. Sci. 92 (1): 2-24 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. Lee and Bradford D. Hollingsworth 2001. A taxonomic review of the endemic Alligator Lizard Elgaria paucicarinata (Anguidae: Squamata) of Baja California, México with a description of a new species. Herpetologica 57 (4):488-496 - get paper here
  • Grismer,L.L. 1988. Geographic variation, taxonomy, and biogeography of the anguid genus Elgaria (Reptilia: Squamata) in Baja California, Mexico. Herpetologica 44: 431-439 - 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
  • Lais, P. Mike 1976. Gerrhonotus cedrosensis. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (177): 1 - get paper here
  • Lais, P. Mike 1976. Gerrhonotus paucicarinatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (188): 1-2 - 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
  • Pianka, E.R. & Vitt, L.J. 2003. Lizards - Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley, 347 pp. [review in Copeia 2004: 955] - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Tihen, J. A. 1949. The genera of gerrhonotine Iizards. American Midland Naturalist 41: 579-601 - get paper here
  • Valdez-Villavicencio, Jorge H. and Patricia Galina-Tessaro. 2014. Elgaria paucicarinata (San Lucan alligator lizard) field and preferred body temperatures. Herpetological Review 45 (3): 495 - get paper here
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