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Leposternon bagual RIBEIRO, SANTOS JR & ZAHER, 2015

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata
Common Names 
SynonymLeposternon bagual RIBEIRO, SANTOS JR & ZAHER 2015
Leposternon microcephalum — SCROCCHI & GIRAUDO 2005: 163, 181
Leposternon microcephalum — RIBEIRO et al. 2008: 35 (partim) 
DistributionNE Argentina (Formosa)

Type locality: El Bagual Ecological Reserve (26°10’53’’S; 58°56’39’’W), Province of Formosa, Department of Laishi, Argentina.  
TypesHolotype: FML 11319 (field number REB 21242), adult female, collected in 05 February 2002, collector unknown (Figs. 1, 2).
Paratypes: FML 11312 (field number REB 20887), a male collected in 01 October 1992; FML 11313 (field number REB 20888), a female collected in 14 June 1992; FML 11318 (field number REB 1227), a female collected in 01 February 1993; all three paratypes from El Bagual Ecological Reserve (26o10’53’’S; 58o56’39’’W), Province of Formosa, Department of Laishi, Argentina; collector unknown. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Leposternon bagual sp. nov. is a medium-sized amphisbaenian (largest specimen total length 309.5 mm) and can be characterized as a Leposternon and distinguished from all South American amphisbaenians by having the nostril openings on the ventral surface of snout, rostral and nasals fused into a single shield, gular portion without segmental cover and prefrontal bones in facial view with nasal process long and ‘T’ shaped (details of skull in Gans & Montero 2009) (Ribeiro et al. 2008). Additionally, the new species differs from all other South American amphisbaenians, except Leposternon spp. and Amphisbaena anomala (Barbour, 1914), in having the frontal portion of the head greatly depressed and pectoral shields irregular (not arranged in dermal regular annuli). It differs from the other species of the genus by the presence of rostral processes in the maxillae and nasals that contact each other in the facial portion of the skull (Fig. 3, Table 1). The new species further differs from L. cerradensis Ribeiro, Vaz-Silva & Santos-Jr, 2008, L. infraorbitale (Berthold, 1859), L. microcephalum, L. octostegum (Duméril, 1851), L. scutigerum (Hemprich, 1820) and L. wuchereri (Peters, 1879) by the presence of 3 infralabial shields; and from L. cerradensis, L. kisteumacheri Porto, Soares & Caramaschi, 2000, L. maximus Ribeiro, Nogueira, Cintra, Silva Jr. & Zaher, 2011, and L. polystegum (Duméril, 1851) by lacking precloacals pores.

Leposternon bagual is further characterized by the following combination of pholidotic, meristic, cranial, and morphometric characters (see also Table 1 for a synthesis of diagnostic features within the genus): 1) two supralabials; 2) supraocular present; 3) 240–267 dorsal postpectoral half-annuli; 4) 206–214 ventral postpectoral half-annuli; 5) 11–12 tail annuli; 6) 27–29 dorsal segments in midbody half-annulus; 7) 23–27 ventral segments in midbody half-annulus; 8) 96 precloacal vertebrae; 9) many small and irregularly shaped pectoral shields (Fig. 1D); 10) adults specimens dark brown dorsally; 11) five premaxillary teeth; 12) four maxillary teeth; 13) six dentary teeth; 14) rostral process of nasal present; 15) rostral process of maxilla present; 16) premaxillary foramina present; 17) head length with 3.5–4.5% of snout-vent length; 18) rostronasal length with 22.6–23.5% of head length; 19) rostronasal width with 64.0–68.1% of the greatest width of head; 20) azygous length with 29.3–35.0% of head length; 21) azygous width representing 35.6–45.8% of the greatest width of head; 22) frontal suture length with 25.3–25.5% of head length; 23) parietal suture with 9.8–13.9% of head length; 24) temporal length with 18.9– 22.0% of head length; 25) temporal width with 13.2–17.8% of head width; 26) prefrontals length with 23.0–26.8% of head length; 27) prefrontals width with 38.3–41.7% of head width; 28) height posterior of head comprising 69.0–72.5% of head length; 30) comissure of the mouth length comprising 53.4–59.1% of head length; 29) midbody width with 3.2–4.4% of snout-vent length; and 30) tail length representing 4.9–5.6% of snout-vent length. 
CommentSimilar species: this species has previously been considered as Leposternon microcephalum. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet for the new species is used here as a noun in apposition, an allusion to the ecological reserve where the new species has been collected (El Bagual Reserve). The word bagual comes originally from the indigenous word cahual, which in Araucana culture (native inhabitants of Chile and Argentina) is applied to cattle (Di-Giacomo & Krapovickas 2005). Among other denominations, bagual is used by “Gauchos” to define a wild horse. 
  • RIBEIRO, SIRIA; ALFREDO P. SANTOS-JR, HUSSAM ZAHER 2015. A new species of Leposternon Wagler, 1824 (Squamata, Amphisbaenia) from northeastern Argentina. Zootaxa 4034 (2): 309–324 - get paper here
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