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Eremiascincus richardsonii (GRAY, 1845)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesBroad-banded Sand-swimmer, Broad Banded Sand Swimmer, Richardson’s Skink; monotropis: Keeled Skink 
SynonymHinulia richardsonii GRAY 1845: 271
Lygosoma monotropis BOULENGER 1887: 237
Hinulia ambigua DE VIS 1888: 817
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) monotropis — SMITH 1937: 220
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) richardsoni — SMITH 1937: 220
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) richardsonii — GLAUERT 1960
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) monotropis — GLAUERT 1960
Sphenomorphus richardsoni — PIANKA 1969
Sphenomorphus richardsoni — STORR 1974
Eremiascincus richardsonii — GREER 1979
Eremiascincus richardsonii — COGGER 2000: 478
Eremiascincus richardsonii — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia)

Type locality: Houtman's Abrolhos, W. A.  
Reproductionoviparous (Mecke et al. 2016) 
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.3.14
Syntypes: BMNH 1946.8.26.12-13, BMNH 1946.8.5.45, from Champion Bay, W. A. and W. A. [Lygosoma monotropis]
Holotype: QM J242, from Charleville, Qld. [Hinulia ambigua] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): The expanded Eremiascincus comprises small to medium-sized (SVL 44–125 mm) lygosomine skinks, which can be slender to robust; diurnal, crepuscular or nocturnal; terrestrial, fossorial or litter dwelling. No synapomorphy is known for this group, but it can be diagnosed by the following combination of characters: parietal shields in contact behind the interparietal; prefrontals large, in contact or narrowly separated; supranasals absent and nasals undivided; frontoparietals paired; frontal much longer than prefrontals; SupraLab 6–8; 1 or 2 InfraLab in contact with postmental scale; lower eyelid movable, scaly; small or missing auricular granules (when present usually 4–5); SupCil 6–10; supraoculars 4; 4TLam 15–30; usually more than 24 MBSR; dorsal and caudal scales smooth or keeled, head scales smooth; limbs well developed, meeting or overlapping when adpressed (exceptions are E. pardalis from the woodlands and monsoon forests of Queensland and E. butlerorum from Sumba Island, Indonesia); fingers and toes 5; tail usually much longer than SVL; ear opening prominent; colour pattern variable, composed of either distinct crossbands, a reticulum, numerous spots or dashes and can include a dark lateral zone. All species are oviparous, but E. pardalis has been reported as egg laying (Greer & Parker 1974) and live-bearing (Rankin 1978). Differentiation of Eremiascincus from Glaphyromorphus is possible with the exception of a few problematic species. Members of Eremiascincus usually share a higher number of MBSR than most Glaphyromorphus: Eremiascincus (> 24 MBSR) is separated from the elongated, slender G. cracens (20–22 MBSR), G. crassicaudis (20–22 MBSR), G. darwiniensis (20–22 MBSR), G. mjobergi (22 MBSR) and G. punctulatus (18–20 MBSR). Furthermore, these species have very short, widely separated limbs when adpressed, a condition rare among members of Eremiascincus. The exceptions are G. fuscicaudis and G. nigricaudis and both taxa may represent a basal lineage within Glaphyromorphus (Greer 1979c, 1989). The presence of an ectopterygoid process, a small strut of bone in the secondary palate (Greer 1979a, 1989) might be of taxonomic importance as well, but seems to be absent in some populations of E. fasciolatus and E. richardsonii (Greer 1979a). However, this character is not present in any member of Glaphyromorphus (from Mecke et al. 2009 who also has the references cited). 
CommentSynonymy after COGGER 1983.

Type Species: Hinulia richardsonii GRAY 1845 is the type species of the genus Eremiascincus GREER 1979.

Phylogenetics: see Singhal et al. 2017 and 2018 for a phylogeny of Australian sphenomorphine skinks.

Habitat: hard soils across the Pilbara, often found around buildings and wells.

Limb morphology: 5 digits, 5 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Brandley et al 2008)

Morphology: Hutchinson et al. 2021 present a table of morphological character states across 20 Australian sphenomorphine skinks, including this genus. 
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • CHIACCHIO, MICHELE; ANNEGRET GRIMM-SEYFARTH<br />KLAUS HENLE<br /> AND JEAN-BAPTISTE MIHOUB 2020. Water availability as a major climatic driver of taxonomic and functional diversity in a desert reptile community. Ecosphere 11(7):e03190. 10.1002/ecs2.3190 - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • De Vis, C. W. 1888. A contribution to the herpetology of Queensland. Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales (2) 2: 811-826 [1887] - get paper here
  • Glauert, L. 1960. Herpetological miscellanea. XII. The family Scincidae in Western Australia. Pt. 2. The genus Lygosoma. Western Australian Naturalist 7 (4): 81-99 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Greer, Allen E. 1979. Eremiascincus, A new generic name for some Australian sand swimming skinks (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 32 (7): 321-338 - get paper here
  • Grimm-Seyfarth, A., J.-B. Mihoub, and K. Henle. 2019. Functional traits determine the different effects of prey, predators, and climatic extremes on desert reptiles. Ecosphere 10(9):e02865. 10.1002/ecs2.2865 - get paper here
  • Hutchinson, M. N., Couper, P., Amey, A., & Wilmer, J. W. 2021. Diversity and Systematics of Limbless Skinks (Anomalopus) from Eastern Australia and the Skeletal Changes that Accompany the Substrate Swimming Body Form. Journal of Herpetology 55 (4): 361-384 - get paper here
  • Mecke, S., M. Kieckbusch, T. Graf, L. A. Beck, M. O’Shea & H. Kaiser 2016. First captive breeding of a night skink (Scincidae: Eremiascincus) from Timor-Leste, Lesser Sunda Islands, with remarks on the reproductive biology of the genus. Salamandra 52 (2): 178-188 - get paper here
  • Mecke, S; Dougherty, P. & Donnellan, S.C. 2009. A new species of Eremiascincus (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) from the Great Sandy Desert and Pilbara Coast, Western Australia and reassignment of eight species from Glaphyromorphus to Eremiascincus. Zootaxa 2246: 1-20 - get paper here
  • MECKE, SVEN; PAUL DOUGHTY, STEPHEN C. DONNELLAN 2013. Redescription of Eremiascincus fasciolatus (Günther, 1867) (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) with clarification of its synonyms and the description of a new species. Zootaxa 3701 (5): 473–517 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 1969. Habitat specificity, speciation, and species density in Australian desert lizards. Ecology 50 (3): 498-502 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 2011. Notes on the ecology of some uncommon skinks in the Great Victoria Desert. Western Australian Naturalist 28: 50-60 - get paper here
  • Rabosky, Daniel L.; Stephen C. Donnellan, Michael Grundler, and Irby J. Lovette 2014. Analysis and Visualization of Complex Macroevolutionary Dynamics: An Example from Australian Scincid Lizards. Syst Biol 2014 63: 610-627 - get paper here
  • Reeder, T.W. 2003. A phylogeny of the Australian Sphenomorphus group (Scincidae: Squamata) and the phylogenetic placement of the crocodile skinks (Tribolonotus): Bayesian approaches to assessing congruence and obtaining confidence in maximum likelihood inferred relatio Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27: 384–397 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Skinner, Adam; Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael S.Y. Lee 2013. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Australian Sphenomorphus Group Skinks (Scincidae, Squamata). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69 (3): 906–918 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Storr, G. M. 1974. Revision of the Sphenomorphus richardsonii species-group (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 3: 66-70 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M.; L. A. Smith, and R. E. Johnstone 1999. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Revised Edition. Western Australian Museum
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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