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Lerista elegans (GRAY, 1845)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Elegant Slider 
SynonymMiculia elegans GRAY 1845: 66
Ablepharus elegans — GLAUERT 1960: 121
Ablepharus elegans — FORD 1963
Lerista elegans — GREER 1967
Lerista elegans — COGGER 1983: 172
Lerista elegans — COGGER 2000: 528
Miculia elegans — WELLS 2012: 58
Lerista elegans — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (Western Australia)

Type locality: W. A.  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.18.54 (formerly xi.8a), Western Australia, collected J. Gilbert. Designation by Wells & Wellington, 1985 
DiagnosisDescription: “A small slender species, the distance between the tip of the snout and the fore limb 2.1 to 2.6 in the distance between the fore limb and the hind limb. Eye usually incompletely surrounded by granules; frontonasal narrowly in contact with the rostral or just separated by the nasals, widely in contact with the frontal; prefrontals fairly small, widely separated; frontal wider than the supraocular region, in contact with two supraoculars, almost as long as its distance from the nuchals, longer than its distance from the tip of the snout; 3 upper labials in front of the slightly enlarged subocular; 3 supraoculars, 3 or 4 pairs of nuchals; frontoparietals and interparietal separate, the latter shield the largest. Ear openings very small. Scales smooth, dorsals larger than the ventrals, laterals smallest but subcaudals largest. Limbs short, with four digits, the adpressed limbs do not meet; the fore limbs fit into a depression, toes on hind limb long and slender. Length 3.625 in. (41 + 51 mm.). Bronzy above, head marked with darker; each dorsal scale with a dark spot producing 4 lines along the body, sometimes more or less distinct. A dark dorsolateral band, visible from above, extends from the snout through the eye and over the ear to the tail where it becomes indistinct; it is edged below by a fine white line. Lower surface uniform pale, sometimes the ventrals are dark-edged.” (Glauert 1960) 
CommentType species: Miculia elegans Gray, 1845 is the type species of the genus Miculia Gray 1845. WELLS 2012: 47 revived Miculia for Miculia aericeps (Storr, 1986), Miculia christinae (Storr, 1979); Miculia distinguenda (Werner, 1910); Miculia elegans Gray, 1845; Miculia separanda (Storr, 1976); Miculia taeniata (Storr, 1986) and Miculia xanthura (Storr, 1976). Unfortunately WELLS did not provide a phylogenetic analysis of the genera into which he broke up Lerista, hence we leave the current genus Lerista intact for the time being.

Limb morphology: 4 digits, 4 toes 
EtymologyThe name elegans (Latin) means tasteful, choice, fine, select or elegant and appears to refer to the color pattern. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Ford, J. 1963. The Reptilian Fauna of the Islands between Dongara and Lancelin, Western Australia. Western Australian Naturalist 8 (6): 135-142 - get paper here
  • Glauert, L. 1960. Herpetological miscellanea. XII. The family Scincidae in Western Australia. Pt. 3. The genus Ablepharus. Western Australian Naturalist 7: 115-122 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Greer, Allen E. 1967. A new generic arrangement for some Australian scincid lizards. Breviora (267): 1-19 - get paper here
  • Hallermann, J. 2020. An annotated list of reptiles and amphibians from the 1905 Hamburg expedition to southwest Australia deposited in the Zoological Museum Hamburg. Evolutionary Systematics 4: 61 - get paper here
  • How, RA, Cowan, MA, Teale, RJ, Schmitt, LH. 2020. Environmental correlates of reptile variation on the Houtman Abrolhos archipelago, eastern Indian Ocean. J Biogeogr. 47: 2017– 2028 - get paper here
  • Maryan, B., Browne-Cooper, R. and Bush, B. 2002. Herpetofauna Survey of the Maralla Road Bushland. Western Australian Naturalist 23: 197-205 - get paper here
  • Morinaga, Gen and Philip J. Bergmann 2020. Evolution of fossorial locomotion in the transition from tetrapod to snake-like in lizards. Proc. R. Soc. B. 287: 20200192 - get paper here
  • Skinner, Adam; Michael S Y Lee and Mark N Hutchinson 2008. Rapid and repeated limb loss in a clade of scincid lizards. [Lerista]. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:310 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1971. The genus Lerista (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in Western Australia. J R. Soc. West. Aust. 54: 59-75
  • Storr, G. M., Smith, L. A. & Johnstone, R. E. 1981. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Perth: University of Western Australia Press and Western Australian Museum, 200 pp.
  • Storr, G. M.; L. A. Smith, and R. E. Johnstone 1999. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Revised Edition. Western Australian Museum
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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