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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
Liolaemus robertmertensi — SCHULTE et al. 2000
Liolaemus robertmertensi — ESPINOZA et al. 2004
Liolaemus robertmertensi — QUINTEROS, 2012, in part
Liolaemus robertmertensi — QUINTEROS, 2013, in part
Liolaemus sp. 12 — PORTELLI & QUINTEROS 2018
Liolaemus sp. 12 — QUINTEROS et al. 2020 
DistributionArgentina (Catamarca: Salar de Pipanaco and surroundings in the district of Pomán, as well as from the neighboring town of Andalgalá)

Type locality: Salar de Pipanaco 27°49'43''S; 66°11'44.2''W, 761 m a.s.l. Pomán, Catamarca, Argentina  
TypesHolotype: MCN 2611 Adult male. Puesto Río Blanco, Salar de Pipanaco 27°49'43''S; 66°11'44.2''W, 761 m a.s.l. Pomán, Catamarca, Argentina. Collected by C. Abdala, S. Quinteros, and G Scrocchi 19 March 2007
Paratypes: FML 1308/1-5; FML 1478/1-3; FML 1616/2; FML 1706/3; MCN 1713; MCN 2571; MCN 2574 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Liolaemus brizuelai sp. nov. belongs to the Liolaemus robertmertensi group (Lobo et al, 2010, Abdala and Quinteros, 2014; Portelli and Quinteros, 2018; Quinteros et al. 2020). It is a medium sized Liolaemus, (max. SVL 57.49 mm), phenetically similar to L. robertmertensi. Table 2 shows statistical differences between Liolaemus brizuelai sp. nov. and L. robertmertensi and other phylogenetically close species. Head height in L. brizuelai (Mean= 6.04; SD= 0.15) is greater than in L. robertmertensi (Mean= 5.33; SD= 0.22). Foot length in L. brizuelai (Mean= 14.92; SD= 0.22) is longer than in L. robertmertensi (Mean= 13.48; SD= 0.41). Number of scales of neck in L. brizuelai (Mean= 14.07; SD= 0.21) is lower than in L. robertmertensi (Mean= 17.58; SD= 0.67). Number of ventrals is lower in L. brizuelai (Mean= 63.37; SD= 0.71) than in L. robertmertensi (Mean= 69.08; SD= 1.28). A black margin in dorsolateral stripes is present in L. robertmertensi but absent in L. brizuelai. A line surrounding interparietal scale is always absent in L. robertmertensi but is evident in some L. brizuelai. Throat is immaculate cream in L. robertmertensi but shows stripes or can be gray in L. brizuelai. Head of L. robertmertensi bears no markings, but head of L. brizuelai can show lines or dots. Tables 1 and 2 show differences between L. brizuelai and L. gracilis, L. sanjuanensis, and L. saxatilis, species phylogenetically close to L. brizuelai. Head height in L. brizuelai (Mean= 6.04; SD= 0.15) is greater than in L. gracilis (Mean= 5.24; SD= 0.14), but less than in L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 6.44; SD= 0.18). Foot length in L. brizuelai (Mean= 14.92; SD= 0.22) is longer than in L. gracilis (Mean= 12.45; SD= 0.31) and L. saxatilis (Mean= 13.6; SD= 0.24). Number of scales around midbody in L. brizuelai (Mean= 31.6; SD= 0.03) is lower than in L. gracilis (Mean= 40.15; SD= 0.52), L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 49.93; SD= 0.62), and L. saxatilis (Mean= 38.22; SD= 0.87). Number of dorsal scales in L. brizuelai (Mean= 38.13; SD= 0.49) is lower than in L. gracilis (Mean= 41.63; SD= 0.69) and L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 51; SD= 1.16). Number of supercilliaries in L. brizuelai (Mean= 6.81; SD= 0.09) is greater than in L. gracilis (Mean= 6.05; SD= 0.05) and L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 5.62; SD= 0.15), and lower than in L. saxatilis (Mean= 7.32; SD= 0.1). Number of neck scales in L. brizuelai (Mean= 14.07; SD= 0.21) is lower than in L. gracilis (Mean= 23.47; SD= 0.3), L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 33.81; SD= 0.13), and L. saxatilis (Mean= 21.82; SD= 0.41). Number of lorilabials in L. brizuelai (Mean= 2.42; SD= 0.09) is lower than in L. gracilis (Mean= 3.1; SD= 0.07), L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 3.56; SD= 0.18), and L. saxatilis (Mean= 3.5; SD= 0.17). Number of supralabials in L. brizuelai (Mean= 5.84; SD= 0.09) is greater than in L. gracilis (Mean= 5.31; SD= 0.11) and L. saxatilis (Mean= 5.22; SD= 0.13), but lower than in L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 6.62; SD= 0.22). Number of ventral scales in L. brizuelai (Mean= 63.37; SD= 0.71) is lower than in L. gracilis (Mean= 75.37; SD= 1.2), L. sanjuanensis (Mean= 76.06; SD= 1.27), and L. saxatilis (Mean= 73.68; SD= 1.32). Number of lamellae on first toe in L. brizuelai (Mean= 10.08; SD= 0.16) is lower than in L. gracilis (Mean= 11.42; SD= 0.2), but greater than in L. saxatilis (Mean= 8.63; SD= 0.1). Number of lamellae on third toe in L. brizuelai (Mean= 18.23; SD= 0.24) is lower tan in L. gracilis (Mean= 20.1; SD= 0.2), but greater than in L. saxatilis (Mean= 17.32; SD= 0.15). In L. brizuelai, the nasal scale contacts the rostral, whereas in L. balerion, L. exploratorum, L. sanjuanensis, L. saxatilis, L. vhagar, and L. yanalcu, there is no contact. The dorsal surface of the head is smooth in L. brizuelai, being slightly rugose in L. exploratorum and L. pagaburoi and markedly rugose in L. bitaeniatus, L. lemniscatus, L. saxatilis, L. tacnae, and L. variegatus. Subocular scale is whitish, lighter tan loreal region in L. brizuelai, differing from L. gracilis, L. vhagar, L. meraxes, L. incaicus, L. paulinae, L. puna, L. pyriphlogos and L. yanalcu, where subocular scale is same color as loreal region. The neck scales of L. brizuelai have a keel, while in L. gracilis and L. vhagar they are smooth. Females of L. brizuelai do not present precloacal pores, while the females of L. aparicioi, L. bitaeniatus, L. incaicus, L. ramirezae, L. variegatus and L. yanalcu present precloacal pores. Males of Liolaemus brizuelai present paravertebral spots, while these are absent in L. alticolor, L. chungara, L. fuscus, L. gracilis, L. chaltin, most of males of L. puna and L. walkeri. Presence of dorsolateral stripes in L. brizuelai differentiates this species from L. tacnae and L. yanalcu. Vertebral line is absent in L. brizuelai, differing from L. gracilis (evident and segmented) and from L. tandiliensis (evident in some specimens), L. alticolor, L. aparicioi, L. balerion, L. bibronii, L. chavin, L. curicencis, L. cyaneinotatus, L. gracilis, males of L. incaicus, L. pachacutec, females of L. puna, L. pyriphlogos, L. sanjuanensis, L. tacnae, L. variegatus, L. walkeri, and L. wari, where vertebrate line is evident. Males of L. chavin, L. pachacutec, L. wari, and L. walkeri exhibit partial or total ventral melanism, which is absent in L. brizuelai (Fernández et al. 2021).

Color in life: Liolaemus brizuelai is characterized by its light brown dorsum with black paravertebral spots. These spots always present white margins and are variably shaped (rectangular, dashed line or as stretch line) in specimens. Paravertebral spots continue throughout the dorsal region of the tail. Dorsolateral bands are lighter brown than the vertebral region in females but in males there is no distinction between those regions. The dorsolateral bands may have black or white margins in both sexes. Lateral field with irregular spots on a coppery brown background on all specimens. Ventrolateral zone can exhibit black, white or yellow spots in males. This region takes a yellow coloration in females during the reproductive period but never shows spots. Males show a yellow coloration in the ventral region of the thighs near the cloaca region. Throat, chest, and belly immaculate grey. Ventral region of tail is immaculate cream (Fernández et al. 2021).

EtymologyNamed after Mr. Pío Brizuela, owner of Puesto Rio Blanco, type locality of L. brizuelai. He has fought for conservation of algarrobo forests in his province and encourages researchers to use his property field for research; as a consequence many new species of vertebrates have their type locality as Puesto Río Blanco. 
  • Espinoza, R.E.; Wiens, J.J. & Tracy, C.R. 2004. Recurrent evolution of herbivory in small, cold-climate lizards: breaking the ecophysiological rules of reptilian herbivory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 101: 16819-16824 - get paper here
  • Fernández, M. G.; Cristian S. Abdala, Mario R. Ruiz -Monachesi, Romina V. Semham, A. Sebastián<br />Quinteros 2021. Redescription of Liolaemus robertmertensi, Hellmich 1964 (Iguania: Liolaemidae) with description of a new species. Cuadernos de Herpetología 35 (S1): 65-78 - get paper here
  • Portelli SN, Quinteros AS. 2018. Phylogeny, time divergence, and historical biogeography of the South American Liolaemus alticolor–bibronii group (Iguania: Liolaemidae). PeerJ 6: e4404 - get paper here
  • Quinteros, A S; M R Ruiz-Monachesi, C S Abdala 2019. Solving the Liolaemus bibronii puzzle, an integrative taxonomy approach: redescription of L. bibronii and description of three new species (Iguania: Liolaemidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 189 (1): 315–348 [2020] - get paper here
  • Quinteros, Andrés Sebastián 2012. Taxonomy of the Liolaemus alticolor–bibronii Group (Iguania: Liolaemidae), with Descriptions of Two New Species. Herpetologica 68 (1): 100-120 - get paper here
  • QUINTEROS, ANDRÉS SEBASTIÁN 2013. A morphology-based phylogeny of the Liolaemus alticolor–bibronii group (Iguania: Liolaemidae). Zootaxa 3670: 1-32 - get paper here
  • SCHULTE II, JAMES A.; J. ROBERT MACEY, ROBERT E. ESPINOZA AND ALLAN LARSON 2000. Phylogenetic relationships in the iguanid lizard genus Liolaemus: multiple origins of viviparous reproduction and evidence for recurring Andean vicariance and dispersal. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 69: 75–102 - get paper here
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