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Gymnophthalmus underwoodi GRANT, 1958

IUCN Red List - Gymnophthalmus underwoodi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Gymnophthalminae), Gymnophthalmini, Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Smooth-scaled Tegulet, Underwcod's Spectaded Tegu 
SynonymGymnophthalmus underwoodi GRANT 1958: 228
Gymnophthalmus underwoodi — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 411
Gymnophthalmus underwoodi — KIZIRIAN & COLE 1999
Gymnophthalmus underwoodi — PIANKA & VITT 2003: 120
Gymnophthalmus cf. underwoodi — OLIVEIRA et al. 2014
Gymnophthalmus underwoodi — MACIEL et al. 2021 
DistributionVenezuela, Brazil (Amazonas), Guyana, Suriname, Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, Guadeloupe (incl. Les Saintes, Terre-de-Haut), St. Vincent, Martinique, Antigua [HR 30: 110], St. Kitts, Petit Cul-de-sac, Saint-Barthélemy

Introduced to Cuba, Saba (Dutch Caribbean)
Possibly introduced to Brazil (Pará) (Maciel et al. 2021)

Type locality: Barbados.  
Reproductionoviparous; Unisexual and parthenogenetic species.  
TypesHolotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 42334. 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Maximum SVL 43 mm; unisexual; dorsal scale rows at midbody 13; dorsal scales from parietal to base of tail 31-34; dorsal body scales without keels; posterior dorsal caudal scales keeled; ventral scales from pectoral plates to anal shield 21-23; femoral pores absent. Dorsum bronze-brown; pale line from snout, over eye, continuing to above foreleg along junction of bronze back and darker side; black lateral stripe beginning at snout and continuing onto tail; underside of body whitish, but heavily marked with dark gray to black; chin and throat off-white; posterior portion of tail off-white with dark smudging (Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 411). 
CommentAvila-Pires (1995) and GORZULA & SEÑARIS (1999) treat close relatives of G. underwoodi (cryptus, leucomystax, speciosus, underwoodi) as the “G. underwoodi complex”, which apparently form separate, but “cryptic” species. KIZIRIAN & COLE provide evidence that G. cryptus is the “maternal” species of G. underwoodi.

Distribution: for a map see Maciel et al. 2021: 292 (Fig. 1). 
EtymologyNamed after Garth Leon Underwood (1919-2002), British herpetologist (obituary in Copeia 2003: 222-225). 
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  • Censky, Ellen J.;Lindsay, Kevin 1997. Geographic Distribution. Gymnophthalmus underwoodi. Herpetological Review 28 (4): 210 - get paper here
  • Cole C J. DESSAUER H C. MARKEZICH A L. 1993. Missing Link Found: The Second Ancestor of Gymnophthalmus underwoodi (Squamata: Teiidae), A South American Unisexual Lizard of Hybrid Origin. American Museum Novitates (3055): 1-13. - get paper here
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  • Jairam, Rawien 2016. Attempted predation on a Smooth-scaled Worm Lizard, Gymnophthalmus underwoodi (Grant 1958) by a Rainbow Whiptail, Cnemidophorus lemniscatus (Linnaeus 1758) in Suriname. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 23 (2): 93–94 - get paper here
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  • van den Burg, M. P., Hylkema, A., & Debrot, A. O. 2021. Establishment of two nonnative parthenogenetic reptiles on Saba, Dutch Caribbean: Gymnophthalmus underwoodi and Indotyphlops braminus. Caribbean Herpetology, 79, 1-5 - get paper here
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