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Heremites auratus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Mabuyinae (Mabuyini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesHeremites auratus auratus (LINNAEUS 1758)
Heremites auratus transcaucasicus (CHERNOV 1926) 
Common NamesE: Golden Grass Mabuya, Golden Grass Skink
G: Goldstreifenskink, Goldmabuye 
SynonymLacerta aurata LINNAEUS 1758: 209 (part.)
Stincus auratus — MEYER 1795: 30 (in error)
Euprepis Fellowsii GRAY 1845: 113
Euprepes auratus — GRAVENHORST 1851: 321
Euprepes Fellowsii — BOETTGER 1880: 186
Mabuya aurata — ANDERSSON 1900
Mabuia septemtaeniata var. fellowsi — WERNER 1902
Mabuya aurata aurata — MERTENS 1924
Mabuya aurata — SMITH 1935: 263
Mabuya transcaucasica CHERNOV 1926
Mabuya septemtaeniata fellowsi — BIRD 1936
Mabuya aurata fellowsi — CHONDROPOULOS 1986
Mabuya aurata — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Mabuya aurata fellowsi — IOANNIDES et al. 1994
Mabuya aurata — ANDERSON 1999
Mabuya aurata — GREER & NUSSBAUM 2000
Mabuya aurata — SZCZERBAK 2003
Euprepis auratus — MAUSFELD & SCHMITZ 2003
Trachylepis aurata — BAUER 2003
Mabuya aurata — KUMLUTAS et al. 2004
Mabuya aurata — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 386
Trachylepis aurata — BAHMANI et al. 2016
Heremites auratus — KARIN et al. 2016
Heremites auratus — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020

Heremites auratus transcaucasicus (CHERNOV 1926)
Mabuya transcaucasica CHERNOV 1926
Euprepes affinis DE FILIPPI 1865 (fide SMITH 1935)
Trachylepis septemtaeniata transcaucasica — MAUSFELD & SCHMITZ 2003
Mabuya aurata affinis — fide MORAVEC et al. 2006
Trachylepis aurata transcaucasica — FAIZI & RASTEGAR-POUYANI 2007
Mabuya septemtaeniata transcaucasica — SINDACO & JEREMČENKO 2008
Trachylepis aurata transcaucasica — RASTEGAR-POUYANI et al. 2008
Trachylepis aurata transcaucasica — FAIZI et al. 2010
Trachylepis septemtaeniata transcaucasica — MARINE et al. 2011
Heremites auratus transcaucasicus — KARIN et al. 2016 (by implication) 
DistributionGreece (Aegean Islands, Samos, Rhodos)
Turkey (Burdur, Alanya, Mardin, Urfa) [Clark & Clark 1973]
European Soviet Union (Caucasus), Pakistan ?, Syria [Moravec 1998],
Iraq, Iran, NE Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, coastal Ethiopia, Eritrea, probably in E Sudan (Jumhūriyyat) (L. Chirio, pers. comm.), S Azerbaijan, S Turkmenistan, E Uzbekistan.

Type locality: “Jersea Anglorum, Cyprus” [= British island of Jersey and Cyprus] fide BAHMANI et al. 2016. Amended later to “Asia minor” fide Moravec et al. 2006.

transcaucasica: Iran; Type locality: Migrri and Ordubat, Armenia  
ReproductionWhile dissimilis is undoubtedly oviparous, aurata is viviparous” (from SMITH 1935: 263). 
TypesSyntypes: UUZM (= ZMUU) - Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm and the Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University (but see comment).
Lectotype: UUZM 38 (designated by Moravec et al. 2006).
Syntypes: NMNHU (formerly ZIK) [transcaucasicus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Lower eyelid with undivided, more or less transparent disc; 32-38 scales around body, dorsals feebly tricarinate to smooth; prefrontals not in contact; 16-22 lamellae under 4th toe; parietals not in contact; no light vertebral stripe (Anderson, 1999; Rastegar-Pouyani et al., 2007, Bahmani et al. 2016).

Description of lectotype: Adult specimen (sex undetermined) with moderate robust and slightly depressed body; snout-vent length 86mm; tail original, partly broken, round in cross section; tail length 126 mm; head length from rostrum to the end of interparietal shield 15.4 mm; head length from rostrum to anterior margin of eye opening 18.1 mm; maximal head width 13.2 mm; four upper labials anterior and two upper labials posterior to subocular shield, three smaller scales between last upper labial and ear opening (same for left and right side); lower eyelid with a distinct transparent oval window; ear opening not covered by enlarged scales; area of the left mouth corner damaged; rostral, supranasal and frontonasal shields damaged; five supraciliar shiels (left and right side); first and second supraocular shields in contact with frontale, third and fourth supraoculars in contact with frontoparietal shield (both on left and right side); postfrontal shields in a wide contact; parietal shields completely separated by interparietal shield; one pair of smooth nuchal shields; 33 scales around mid-body; dorsal scales with three slight keels; 61 gular plus ventral scales (from mental shield to vent), gular and ventral scales smooth; hind leg length (left/right) 30/30 mm; fourth finger length (from insertion of 3rd finger, claw included) 9.7/9.8 mm; fourth toe length (from insertion of 5th toe, claw included) 12.9/12.8 mm; lamellae under the fourth toe 18/18, flat and smooth; colouration (in alcohol) light brown, pattern completely faded [from MORAVEC et al. 2006].
CommentSynonymy: M. aurata “is so closely related to dissimilis that one might feel inclined to regard the two as geographical races of one another.

Distribution: not in Armenia fide Jeff Ettling (pers. comm., 2 April 2015). Not in Oman (Carranza et al. 2018).

Subspecies: Trachylepis aurata septemtaeniata (REUSS 1834) is now considered as a valid species by most authors.

Taxonomy: The name Lacerta aurata LINNAEUS (1758) must be considered as a nomen dubium (W. Böhme, pers. comm.), thus indicating an invalid taxonomic status of auratus. MAUSFELD (pers. comm.) suggested to assign it to the new genus Euprepis for the time being. M. (aurata) septemtaeniata has been erroneously reported from Armenia, Caucasus. Not in Pakistan fide KHAN 2002 (pers. comm.). Not listed by ANDERSON 1999, Lizards of Iran.

Types: Lönnberg (1896, ex Andersson 1900) examined the Uppsala syntype of L. aurata and determined it as Mabuia septemtaeniata. Later, Andersson (1900) studied the remaining three Stockholm syntypes and associated them with names of three quite different skink species: Mabuia bistriata (Spix, 1825), Mabuia homalocephala (Wiegmann, 1828) and Mabuia multifasciata (Kuhl, 1820) [after Moravec et al. 2006].

NCBI taxon ID: 754018 [transcaucasicus] 
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