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Hemicordylus capensis (SMITH, 1838)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cape Cliff Lizard, Graceful Crag Lizard 
SynonymCordylus (Hemicordylus) capensis SMITH 1838
Zonurus capensis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 360
Zonurus capensis — BOULENGER 1885: 258
Zonurus robertsi VAN DAM 1921: 241
Cordylus capensis capensis — FITZSIMONS 1943
Cordylus capensis robertsi FITZSIMONS 1943
Pseudocordylus robertsi — LOVERIDGE 1944
Pseudocordylus capensis — HERSELMAN, MOUTON & VAN WYK 1992
Pseudocordylus capensis — BRANCH 1993
Cordylus capensis — FROST et al. 2001
Pseudocordylus capensis — BRANCH & BAUER 2005
Pseudocordylus capensis — RENSBURG et al. 2009
Hemicordylus capensis — STANLEY et al. 2011 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Western Cape Province; isolated populations from Cedarberg in the north, through Cape fold mountains to Kamanassieberg)

Type locality: South Africa [= Hottentots Holland Mountains].
Type locality: Klaver, Van Rhynsdorp District, South Africa [robertsi].  
ReproductionOvoviviparous/Viviparous, giving birth to 1–3 young. 
TypesHolotype: BMNH (presumed, status unclear fide P. Campbell, pers. comm., March 2019). 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus): Body gracile, somewhat flattened in cross-section, small-sized (maximum SVL 76 mm). Limbs long, digits long, slender, unreduced. Dorsal scales large and separated by granules; lateral body scales granular. Caudal scales keeled but not spinose; occipital spines not present. Tongue unpigmented, Osteoderms restricted to tail and dorsum of head. Melanistic and sexually dichromatic in some populations [from STANLEY et al. 2011]. 
CommentSubspecies: Herselman et al. (1992) proposed to give up subspecies of P. capensis due to a continuum of variation.

Type species: Cordylus (Hemicordylus) capensis SMITH 1838 is the type species of the genus Hemicrodulus SMITH 1838. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Branch, William R. & Branch, M. S. 1992. Geographical Distribution. Sauria: Cordylidae: Pseudocordylus capensis (A. Smith, 1838). Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa, 41: 36. - get paper here
  • Dam, G.P.F. van 1921. Descriptions of new species of Zonurus, and notes on the species of Zonurus occurring in the Transvaal. Annals Transvaal Mus. 7 (4): 239-243 - get paper here
  • Frost, D.; Janies, D.; Le Fras N. Mouton, P. & Titus, T. 2003. A molecular perspective on the phylogeny of the Girdled Lizards (Cordylidae, Squamata). American Museum Novitates (3310): 1-10 - get paper here
  • Herselman,Y.M., Mouton,P. le F.N. & Van Wyk,J.H. 1992. The status of the races of the graceful crag lizard, Pseudocordylus capensis, from South Africa. Amphibia-Reptilia 13: 109-119 - get paper here
  • Reissig, J. 2014. Girdled Lizards and Their Relatives. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, ISBN-10: 3899734378
  • Rensburg, D.A. Janse van; Mouton, P. le F.N. & Niekerk, A. van 2009. Why cordylid lizards are black at the south-western tip of Africa. Journal of Zoology 278: 333–341
  • Smith, A. 1838. Contributions to South African zoology. Art. VI. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (1) 2: 30-33 - get paper here
  • Stanley, Edward L.; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman, William R. Branch, P. Le Fras N. Mouton 2011. Between a rock and a hard polytomy: rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1): 53-70. - get paper here
  • Villiers, André de, P. le Fras N. Mouton and Alexander Flemming. 2015. Generation glands of cordylid lizards: mechanism of secretion transfer to the environment. Amphibia-Reptilia 36 (4): 351-360 - get paper here
  • Wyk, J. H. van, Mouton, P. le F. N. 1998. Reproduction and sexual dimorphism in the montane viviparous lizard, Pseudocordylus capensis (Sauria: Cordylidae). South African J Zoology, 33 (3): 156-165 - get paper here
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