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Karusasaurus polyzonus (SMITH, 1838)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Southern Karusa Lizard, Karoo Girdled Lizard 
SynonymCordylus polyzonus SMITH 1838: 31
Zonurus polyzonus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 357
Zonurus polyzonus — BOULENGER 1885: 257
Zonurus polyzonus — ROUX 1907
Cordylus polyzonus — ELZEN 1980
Cordylus polyzonus — FROST et al. 2001
Karusasaurus polyzonus — STANLEY et al. 2011
Karusasaurus polyzonus — BATES et al. 2014: 196
Karusasaurus polyzonus — SCHLEICHER 2020 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (C/W Cape, extending into S OSF), Namibia

Type locality: South Africa.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.8.16-19 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus): Body flattened in cross-section, large-sized (maximum SVL 113–127 mm), robust. Limbs of moderate length, digits unreduced. Dorsal scales small and smooth to keeled in 38–46 transverse rows; caudal scales enlarged and spinose; no occipital spines present. Lower eyelid with transparent disc. Tongue unpigmented. Osteoderms distributed across entire body. Viviparous, giving birth to 2–4 young [from STANLEY et al. 2011].

For a diagnosis from jordani see that species. 
CommentType species: Cordylus polyzonus SMITH 1838 is the type species of the genus Karusasaurus STANLEY et al. 2011. 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): Derived from the Khoisan word karusa, meaning dry, barren, thirstland, and the Latinized Greek saurus – lizard, and referencing the distribution of the type species which extends across the semi-arid Karoo. The word is masculine [from STANLEY et al. 2011]. 
  • BARTS, M. & W.R. BRANCH 2012. Karusasaurus polyzonus (SMITH). Sauria 34 (3): 1-2 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Blerk, Dan van; Jens Reissig, Julia L. Riley, John Measey, James Baxter-Gilbert 2021. Observations of infanticide and cannibalism from four species of cordylid lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae) in captivity and the wild. Herpetology Notes 14: 725-729 - get paper here
  • 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. 1994. Herpetofauna of the Sperrgebeit [sic] Region of Southern Namibia. Herpetological Natural History 2 (1): 1-11.
  • Conradie, Werner; Brian Reeves , Neil Brown, & Jan A. Venter 2016. Herpetofauna of the Oviston, Commando Drift and Tsolwana nature reserves in the arid interior of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Indago 32: 81-98 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Elzen, Paul van den 1980. Cordylus polyzonus polyzonus (Smith). Supplément à la Revue Francaise d'Aquariologie, 7 (3), 3/1980: 2 S.
  • 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
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Loehr, V., Zwartepoorte, H. A. 1995. De Karoo-gordelstaarthagedis (Cordylus polyzonus). Lacerta 53 (5): 143-147 - get paper here
  • Mouton, P. Le Fras N., Cara J. Nieuwoudt, Nic C. Badenhorst and Alexander F. Flemming 2002. Melanistic Cordylus polyzonus (Sauria: Cordylidae) populations in the Western Cape, South Africa: Relics or Ecotypes? Journal of Herpetology 36 (3): 526-531 - get paper here
  • MOUTON, P. LE FRAS N.; DAHNÉ A. JANSE VAN RENSBURG and JOHANNES H. VAN WYK 2010. Epidermal glands in cordylid lizards, with special reference to generation glands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 312–324. - 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
  • Roux,J. 1907. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Fauna von Süd-Afrika. Ergebnisse einer Reise von Prof. Max Weber im Jahre 1894. VII. Lacertilia (Eidechsen). Zool. Jahrb., Abt. Syst., Geogr. Biol. Tiere (Jena), 25: 403-444 - get paper here
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2015. Reptilien Namibias. Namibia Scientific  Society, 276 pp.
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2020. Reptiles of Namibia. Kuiseb Publishers, Windhoek, Namibia, 271 pp.
  • Schwier, H. 2007. Gürtelschweife - die Gattung Cordylus. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (65): 16-23 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Visagie, Louise; Mouton, P. le Fras N.; Bauwens, Dirk 2005. Experimental Analysis of Grouping Behaviour in Cordylid Lizards. The Herpetological Journal 15: 91-96 - get paper here
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