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Lerista orientalis (DE VIS, 1889)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: North-eastern Orange-tailed Slider 
SynonymMiculia orientalis DE VIS 1889
Lerista orientalis — GREER 1967
Lerista orientalis — COGGER 1983: 175
Lerista orentialis — ZOOLOGICAL RECORD
Lerista orientalis — COGGER 2000: 528
Spectrascincus orientalis — WELLS 2012: 290
Lerista orientalis — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (Northern Territory, Queensland)

Type locality: Barkly Tablelands (ex Gregory Downs), Qld.  
TypesHolotype: lost, ws QM, presumed lost fide Covacevich (1971) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small slender Lerista with 4 fingers, 4 toes, and immovable eyelid (a spectacle) differing from L. zonulata mainly in its broad dark diffuse upper lateral zone with more or less definite upper edge but no definite lower edge, and from L. ingrami in its greater size, overall darker colouration, more numerous superciliaries (5 vs 4 or 5) and midbody scale rows (mostly 20 vs mostly 18) and larger nasals and frontoparietals. (Storr 1991)

Description. Snout-vent length (mm): 21-49 (N 71, mean 38.7). Length of appendages etc. (% SVL): foreleg 8-13 (N 55, mean 9.7), hindleg 17-25 (N 56, mean 20.3), tail 105-143 (N 24, mean 122.4), snout to foreleg 25.5-33 (N 58, mean 29.3). Nasals in very short to long contact. Prefrontals widely separated. Frontoparietals in moderately short to long contact (N 54) or very short to short contact (2), about as large as interparietal. Nuchals 0-3 on each side (N 55, mean 1.9). Supraoculars 3, first two in contact with frontal. Supraciliaries 5, second and fifth smallest, first occasionally as large as third and fourth. Loreals 2, second smaller. Presuboculars 2, second much the smaller. Upper labials 6(5 on one side of one specimen). Midbody scale rows 18 (N 1),20 (43),21 (1) or 22 (7). Lamellae under longesttoe 11-15 (N 58, mean 13.0), with or without a fine weak keel. (Storr 1991)

Coloration: Upper surface pale to moderately dark olive grey, olive brown or reddish brown, becoming paler and more reddish on tail, and marked with blackish brown or dark brown: stippling (often heavy) on head and tail and 4 rows of dots (sometimes faint, especially outer pair) passing through centre of dorsal scales. Upper lateral zone back to base of tail blackish brown (dark pigment sometimes confined to broad edge of scales), usually fairly sharp-edged superiorly but gradually merging inferiorly with lower lateral zone, and extending forward as a stripe through orbit, lore and nasal before becoming paler, narrowing, curving down and meeting opposite number at tip of snout. Labials barred blackish brown. Lower surfaces pale brown to brownish white; lower laterals and sometimes ventrals finely dark-edged. (Storr 1991) 
CommentLimb morphology: 4 digits, 4 toes 
  • 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
  • Covacevich, J. 1971. Amphibian and reptile type specimens in the Queensland Museum. [type catalogue] Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 16: 49-68 - get paper here
  • De Vis, CW. 1889. Characters of a naked-eyed skink apparently new. Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 5: 160-161 - get paper here
  • Greer A E 1990. The taxonomic status of Lerista aericeps Storr 1986 with a diagnosis of the Lerista orientalis species group. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 14 (4): 443-448 - get paper here
  • Greer, Allen E. 1967. A new generic arrangement for some Australian scincid lizards. Breviora (267): 1-19 - 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. 1991. Revision of Lerista orientalis (Lacertilia: Scincidae) of northern Australia. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 51 (2): 413-418. - get paper here
  • 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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