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Euspondylus excelsum CHÁVEZ, CATENAZZI & VENEGAS, 2017

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymEuspondylus excelsum CHÁVEZ, CATENAZZI & VENEGAS 2017 
DistributionPeru (Huánuco)

Type locality: Quebrada Tambo (-9.70483° Lat, -75.81383° Long, WGS 84, 1147 m above sea level): Huánuco Province, Huánuco Department, Peru  
TypesHolotype: CORBIDI 16457, adult male (Figs. 1–2); collected by Lesly Luján on 15 October 2015. Paratopotype. CORBIDI 16450 subadult female; collected by Lesly Luján on 12 October 2015. Paratypes. (Figs. 3–4) Two males, five females and three juveniles, all from Huánuco Department, Peru. CORBIDI 14666, adult male, from Zaria, Pachitea Province (-9.68905° Lat, -75.84300° Long, WGS 84, 1023 m above sea level); collected by Vilma Durán on 16 July 2014. CORBIDI 15573, adult female, from Campamento La garganta de la Bella, Tingo Maria National Park, Leoncio Prado Province (-9.33841° Lat, -76.00206° Long, WGS 84, 1095 m above sea level); collected by Diego Vásquez and Germán Chávez on 21 November 2014. CORBIDI 16396, female, from Zaria, Huanuco Province (-9.71467° Lat; -75.81592° Long, WGS 84, 1157 m above sea level); collected by Diego Vásquez on 7 September 2015. CORBIDI 16459, juvenile female from Santa Elena, Pachitea Province (-9.73027° Lat, 75.80503° Long, WGS 84, 1144 m above sea level); collected by Lesly Luján on 18 October 2015. CORBIDI 16463, adult female from Shincay, Huanuco Province (-9.72563° Lat, -75.81497° Long, WGS 84, 1149 m.a.s.l); collected by Lesly Luján on 27 October 2015. CORBIDI 16464, adult female from Zaria, Huanuco Province (-9.71830° Lat; -75.81575° LongWGS 84, 1159 m above sea level); collected by Lesly Luján on 28 October 2015. CORBIDI 16465 adult male, 16466 adult female, 16467-68 juveniles, from Zaria, Huanuco province (-9.71897° Lat, 75.8144° Long, WGS 84 1137 m above sea level); collected by Lesly Luján on 5 November 2015. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The new species can be identified by the following combination of characters: 1) body robust, moderate size, maximum SVL 83.7 mm in males, 81.4 mm in females; 2) head flat, elongated, about 1.6–1.9 times longer than wide; 3) ear openings distinct, slightly recessed; 6) nasals separated by frontonasal; frontonasal undivided; 7) prefrontals, frontal, frontoparietals, parietals, postparietals and interparietal present; 8) parietals longer than wide; 9) supraoculars four, anteriormost fused with anteriormost superciliar; 10) superciliar series complete, five, occasionally four; 11) uncomplete suture from narina to posterodorsal suture of nasal present; 12) loreal in large contact with second supralabial; 13) supralabials six; infralabials five; 14) genials in three pairs, first and second pair always in contact, third pair usually in contact; 15) collar fold present; 16) dorsals in 32–34 rows in both sexes, rectangular, about three times longer than wide, striated, subimbricate; 17) ventrals in 21–23 rows in both sexes, quadrangular, smooth, juxtaposed; 18) scales around mid-body 40–42; 19) lateral scales at mid-body reduced in 6–9 lines; 20) limbs pentadactyl, all digits clawed, forelimb reaching anteriorly to sixth supralabial; 21) subdigital lamellae under finger IV 15–18, under toe IV 20–24; 22) femoral pores in males 10–12, in females 4–7, four scales between femoral pores; 23) preanal plate scales seven; 24) tail up to 2.5 times longer than body; 25) caudals subimbricate, striated dorsally, smooth ventrally; 26) lower palpebral disc transparent, divided in four sections; 27) coloration in life golden-brown with scattered black spots or blotches on head and dorsum, with a black stripe running from the nasal plate to supratympanic temporals, only interrupted by the eye; dorsum with dorsolateral dark-bordered stripes, red-orange in males, brown in females; males with 7–14 pairs of lateral ocelli, from anterior part of the insertion of forelimbs to posterior part of the insertion of hindlimbs; limbs golden-brown; dorsal scales of tail golden-brown with pale flecks arranged dorsolaterally; venter, ventral surfaces of limbs and tail creamy white with black spots; iris copper-red.

Comparisons. Euspondylus excelsum sp. nov. resembles in scutellation and measurements to E. guentheri and E. maculatus, from which it can be easily differentiated by the strong fusion of anteriormost supraocular with anteriormost superciliar (fusion absent in E. guentheri and E. maculatus) (See Fig. 5). Furthermore, E. excelsum can be distinguished from both species by the following characters (conditions for E. guentheri and E. maculatus in parenthesis): body robust (vs. slender in E. guentheri), the presence of small rounded irregular spots (vs. large, transversal black spots on dorsum in E. guentheri), by having striated dorsal scales (vs. smooth in E. guentheri); third pair of chin shields usually in contact (vs. separated in E. guentheri and E. maculatus); head 1.6–1.9 longer than wide (vs. 1.5 in E. maculatus); eye–nose distance is 0.3–0.4 times of head length (vs. 0.5 in E. guentheri); longitudinal dorsal count 32–34 (vs. 38 in E. maculatus) ventral scales rows 21–23 (vs. 25 in E. maculatus); 10–12 femoral pores in adult males (vs. 17 in E. guentheri); and 7–8 preanal scales (vs. 5 in E. guentheri and E. maculatus).
Furthermore, E. excelsum sp. nov. can be differentiated from other congeners (those with the same condition on the lower palpebral disc) by having a longer body with a maximum SVL of 83.7 mm (vs. 53.5 mm in E. acutirostris, 59.6 mm in E. auyanensis, 46.0 mm in E. monsfumus); head 1.6–1.9 longer than wide (vs. 1.5 in E. sp. 1, 1.7 in E. acutirostris and E. guentheri, 1.8 in E. monsfumus); first supraocular fused with first superciliar (vs. not fused in E. acutirostris, E. monsfumus); most dorsal temporal 3–3.5 times longer than small lateral temporals (vs. 4–4.5 times longer than small lateral temporals in E. sp. 2); a lower number of postparietals having 2–3 (vs. 3 in E. auyanensis, 3–4 in E. sp. 1); 2–3 pairs of genials in contact (vs. 2 pairs in contact in E. acutirostris and E. sp. 2); a lower number of ventral scales rows having 21–23 (vs. 26–33 in E. acutirostris, 24 in E. auyanensis, 28 in E. monsfumus); a higher number of scales around mid-body 40–42 (vs. 34–40 in E. acutirostris, 32 in E. auyanensis, 36 in E. monsfumus); a lower number of femoral pores having 3–7 on each side (vs. 8–11 in E. acutirostris, 15–18 in E. auyanensis, 9–10 in E. monsfumus); a higher number of preanal scales 7–8 (vs. 5 in E. sp. 1). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “excelsum” is from Latin and means “tall”, in reference to the habitat of the new species in the canopy of the tropical rainforest. 
  • CHÁVEZ, GERMÁN; ALESSANDRO CATENAZZI, PABLO J. VENEGAS 2017. A new species of arboreal microteiid lizard of the genus Euspondylus (Gymnophtalmidae: Cercosaurinae) from the Andean slopes of central Peru with comments on Peruvian Euspondylus. Zootaxa 4350 (2): 301–316 - get paper here
  • Lehr E, Moravec J, Whitworth A, Villacampa J, Cusi JC, von May R 2018. New distribution records for Euspondylus excelsum Chávez, Catenazzi & Venegas, 2017 (Reptilia, Gymnophthalmidae, Cercosaurinae) in Peru. Check List 14(6): 1141-1149 - get paper here
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