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Lankascincus dorsicatenatus (DERANIYAGALA, 1953)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Ristellidae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymRSK 307 
DistributionSri Lanka

Type locality: Angamana, near Nivitigala  
TypesHolotype: lost (fide Greer, 1991; Batuwita and Pethiygoda, 2007, Batuwita 2019: 237); paratypes in NMSL and BMNH (Amarasinghe et al. plan to designate RSK 307 as neotype, A. Amarasinghe, pers. comm., 23 Sep 2020). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Lankascincus dorsicatenatus is distinguished from all other species of Lankascincus by the following combination of characters: prefrontals in contact; second supraocular larger than others; second supraocular broad; fourth supraocular slightly contacting with frontoparietal; frontoparietal smaller than frontal; frontoparietals two; supraciliaries 9–11; primary temporals two; secondary temporals two, separated; supralabials seven; last supralabial smaller than the preceding supralabial; postsupralabials two; paravertebrals 40–46, equal in size; ventral scales 49–57; transverse scale rows across mid-body 26– 28; two rows of supradigital scales on digits; subdigital lamellae under fourth digit of manus 10–13; subdigital lamellae under fourth digit of pes 15–19; maximum SVL 45.0 mm; adpressed limbs non-overlapping; general body color of male olive brown, ventral side yellowish brown; males lack a dorsolateral stripe; females with a one-scalewide light-brown dorsolateral line and a catenated mid-dorsal coloration pattern (Batuwita 2019: 233).

Comparisons. Here I compare L. dorsicatenatus with other congeners, listing only opposing suites of character states. Lankascincus taprobanensis: single primary temporal and six supralabials; L. fallax: two in contact secondary temporals and last supralabial subequal to the preceding supralabial; L. megalops: fourth supraocular almost entirely in contact with frontoparietal; second supraocular narrow, and 47–50 paravertebrals; L. deignani: single primary temporal and secondary temporals in contact with each other; L. taylori: single primary temporal, secondary temporals in contact and last supralabial subequal to the preceding supralabial; L. gansi: black metallic to rusty-brown living coloration, single row of supradigital scales, and 11–13 subdigital lamellae under fourth digit of pes; L. sripadensis: single primary temporal, secondary temporals in contact, and last supralabial subequal to the preceding supralabial; L. greeri: subocular pale spot, single primary temporal, secondary temporals in contact, and last supralabial subequal to the preceding supralabial (Batuwita 2019: 236). 
CommentGreer 1991 speculated that Sphenomorphus dorsicatenatus might be synonymus with any of four Sri Lankan Lankascincus. This problem can not be solved, however, until the type specimen of dorsicatenatus are found. Batuwita & Pethiyagoda (2007) found the paratypes in the NMSL and noted that “Sphenomorphus dorsicatenatus is distinguished from L. greeri by having the secondary temporals separated by the upper primary temporal (vs secondary temporals in contact) and possessing only a single (vs 2) post-supralabials.” These authors consider this species to be valid. 
  • Batuwita, Sudesh 2019. A REVIEW OF THE LIZARDS OF THE ENDEMIC GENUS LANKASCINCUS (REPTILIA: SCINCIDAE: LYGOSOMINAE) FROM SRI LANKA. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 162(3), (8 April 2019) - get paper here
  • Batuwita, Sudesh and Rohan Pethiyagoda 2007. Description of new species of Sri Lankan Litter Skink (Squamata: Scincidae: Lankascincus). Ceylon Journal of Science (Bio. Sci.) 36(2):80-87
  • Deraniyagala, P.E.P. 1953. A coloured atlas of some vertebrates from Ceylon. Vol. 2. Tetrapod Reptilia. Govt. Press, Colombo, 101 pp.
  • Greer A E 1991. Lankascincus, a new genus of scincid lizards from Sri Lanka, with descriptions of three new species. Journal of Herpetology 25 (1): 59-64 - get paper here
  • Karunarathna, D. M. S. S. and A. A. T. Amarasinghe 2012. Reptile diversity in Beraliya Mukalana proposed forest reserve, Galle District - Sri Lanka. Taprobanica 4 (1): 20-26 - get paper here
  • Manthey, U. 1981. Die Echsen des Ceylonischen Regenwaldes und seiner Randgebiete. Sauria 3 (2): 25-35 - get paper here
  • Somaweera, R. & Somaweera, N. 2009. Lizards of Sri Lanka: a colour guide with field keys. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 304 pp.
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