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Kuniesaurus albiauris SADLIER, DEUSS, BAUER & JOURDAN, 2019

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymKuniesaurus albiauris SADLIER, DEUSS, BAUER & JOURDAN 2019 
DistributionNew Caledonia (Île des Pins)

Type locality: New Caledonia, Île des Pins, 22.59748° S 167.52472° E.  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2017.0101. Paratype MNHN-RA-2017.0102 New Caledonia, Île des Pins 22.59427° S 167.52453° E—both holotype and paratype collected by Matthias Deuss, 20 December 2015. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Kuniesaurus can be distin- guished from all other genera in the Eugon- gylus group of Greer (1979) by the following combination of derived character states (apomorphies) as defined by Sadlier (2010): supranasal scale or postnasal suture absent; anterior loreal reduced in size and present as a semilunar scale positioned on the poster- odorsal margin of the nasal and failing to contact the upper labials; subocular scale row complete; a reduction in the number of upper labial scales (to six) and lower labial scales (to five); frontoparietal scales fused; lower eyelid with an obvious, centrally located semitran- sparent disc; ear lobules barely distinguishable from blunt conical scales around upper, lower, and posterior edges of ear opening; diminutive size (adults <50mm SVL).
The New Caledonian taxa Celatiscincus and Marmorosphax share the greatest number of derived character states with Kuniesaurus, namely the lack of a supranasal scale or postnasal suture; anterior loreal significantly reduced in size (failing to contact the upper labials in Marmorosphax); in having a complete subocular row of scales; frontoparietal scales fused; lower eyelid with an obvious, centrally located semitransparent disc; and a large round ear opening with the lobules barely distinguish- able from adjacent scales. Kuniesaurus has a reduced number of upper labial and lower labial scales, derived character states not present in either Celatiscincus or Marmorosphax, both of which have the modal plesiomorphic state (upper labials seven; lower labials six). Both Celatiscincus and Marmorosphax have keeled body scales, a trait considered apomorphic within the New Caledonian skink radiation, whereas Kuniesaurus has smooth body scales, the state considered plesiomorphic within the New Caledonian skink radiation. Celatiscincus and Marmorosphax also each possess additional apomorphies not shared with Kuniesaurus. In Celatiscincus the parietal scales are each bor- dered by a single enlarged temporal scale and divided nuchal scale into two (sometimes three) scales that are transversely enlarged but equal in size to the adjacent body scales (versus the plesiomorphic condition of the parietals each bordered by a single enlarged temporal scale and transversely enlarged nuchal scale in Kuniesaurus), and in Marmorosphax the division of the third pair of chinshields such that the scales contacting the lower labials are separated from each other by an intervening row of five scales (versus the plesiomorphic condition of the enlarged third pair of chinshields separated from each other by three intervening scales in Kuniesaurus). 
CommentType species: Kuniesaurus albiauris SADLIER et al. 2019 is the type species of the genus Kuniesaurus SADLIER, DEUSS, BAUER & JOURDAN 2019. 
EtymologyThe species epithet albiauris is a noun in apposition and is derived from the Latin albus (white) and auris (ear) and is used in reference to the prominent white spot in the region of the lower secondary temporal giving the appearance of having white ears.

The genus name is derived from Kunié, given to the main island of the Île des Pins by its indigenous Kanak population, and saurus, the New Latin form of the Greek sauros = lizard. The gender is masculine. 
  • Sadlier, Ross A.; Matthias Deuss, Aaron M. Bauer, and Hervé Jourdan 2019. Kuniesaurus albiauris, a New Genus and Species of Scincid Lizard from the Île des Pins, New Caledonia, with Comments on the Diversity and Affinities of the Region’s Lizard Fauna. Pacific Science 73 (1):123–141,doi:10.2984/73.1.6 - get paper here
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