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Liolaemus kunza ABDALA, SEMHAN & PAZ, 2021

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLiolaemus kunza ABDALA, SEMHAN & PAZ 2021 in ABDALA et al. 2021: 5
Liolaemus poecilochromus — LAURENT 1982
Liolaemus poecilochromus — ABDALA et al. 2008
Liolaemus poecilochromus — LOBO et al. 2009
Liolaemus poecilochromus — LOBO et al. 2010
Liolaemus poecilochromus — Valdecantos et al. 2012
Liolaemus poecilochromus — PAZ 2017
Liolaemus aff. poecilochromus — ABDALA et al. 2020 
DistributionArgentina (Catamarca)

Type locality: Vega Quebrada del Diablo, Antofalla, Antofagasta de la Sierra Department, Catamarca Province, Argentina 3969 m asl) (26° 20’ 16.9’’ S, 67° 41’ 05.5’’ W)  
Reproductionviviparous; two to five young. Pregnant females have been found at the end of winter (September) and giving birth in the spring (November). 
TypesHOLOTYPE: FML 30359. Collectors: Cristian S. Abdala and Marcos M. Paz. 16 February 2018.
PARATYPES: FML 3072: Campo de Antofalla, Antofagasta de la Sierra Department, Catamarca Province, Argentina. 3370 m asl. Collector: Omar Pagaburo. 12–17 January 1994. FML 3074: 17 km from Antofalla along the road to Tolar Grande, Antofagasta de la Sierra Department, Catamarca Province, Argentina. 4050 m asl. Collector: Omar Pagaburo. 12–17 January 1994. FML 30360-30362: Vega Loro Huasi, Antofagasta de la Sierra Department, Catamarca Province, Argentina (25 520 37.10 0 S, 67 540 29.90 0 W; 3370m asl). Collectors: Cristian S. Abdala and Marcos M. Paz. 16 February 2018. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Liolaemus kunza sp. nov., belongs to the subgenus Eulaemus and within it, to the L. montanus group because it possesses a blade-like distal posterior process on the tibia, associated with the hypertrophy of the tibialis anticus muscle (Etheridge, 1995; Abdala et al., 2006). It differs from the species of the L. boulengeri group (Abdala, 2007; Schulte et al., 2000) by possessing scales of equal size on the posterior surface of the thigh. Within the L. montanus group, it is distinguished from L. audituvelatus (Nuñez & Yañez, 1983–1984), L. balagueri Villegas et al., 2020, L. chiribaya, L. famatinae Cei, 1980, L. griseus Laurent, 1984, L. hajeki Nuñez et al., 2004, L. insolitus Cei & Pefaur, 1982, L. islugensis Ortiz & Marquet, 1987, L. nazca, L. omorfi, L. poconchilensis Valladares, 2004, L. reichei (Werner, 1907), L. ruibali Donoso-Barros, 1961, L. schmidti (Marx, 1960), L. stolzmanni (Steindachner, 1891) and L. torresi (Nuñez et al., 2003), smaller-sized species with maximum SVL of less than 70mm versus 77.5 mm in L. kunza sp. nov. It is distinguished from L. annectens Boulenger, 1901, L. aymararum Veloso et al., 1982, L. chlorostictus Laurent, 1993, L. dorbignyi Koslowskyi,1898,L.duellmani,L.fabiani Nuñez & Yañez, 1983–1984, L. forsteri Laurent, 1982, L. foxi Nuñez et al., 2000, L.huayra Abdala et al., 2008, L. inti Abdala et al., 2008, L. jamesi Boulenger, 1891, L. melanogaster Laurent, 1998, L. nigriceps (Philippi, 1860), L. orientalis M€uller, 1924, L. pachecoi Laurent, 1995, L. patriciaiturrae Navarro & Nuñez, 1993, L. pleopholis Laurent, 1998, L. polystictus Laurent, 1992, L. puritamensis Nuñez & Fox, 1989, L. qalaywa Chaparro et al., 2020, L. robustus Laurent, 1992, L. scrocchii Quinteros et al., 2008, L. signifier Dumeril & Bibron, 1837, L. vulcanus Quinteros & Abdala, 2011, and L. victormoralesi Aguilar et al., 2019, L. williamsi Laurent, 1992, species of larger size with maximum SVL greater than 80 mm versus 77.5 mm in L. kunza sp. nov.
Liolaemus kunza sp. nov., possesses smooth, juxtaposed scales on the dorsum, character states that distinguish it from L. annectens, L. dorbignyi, L. famatinae, L. griseus, L. huayra, L. inti, L. jamesi, L. melanogaster, L. multicolor Koslowsky, 1898, L. nazca, L. orientalis, L. poconchilensis, L. polystictus Laurent, 1992, L. pulcherrimus Laurent, 1992, and L. robustus which possess imbricate or subimbricate dorsals with a weak keel, and from L. aymararum, L. etheridgei Laurent, 1998, L. evaristoi Gutierrez et al., 2018, L. fittkaui Laurent, 1986, L. griseus, L. huacahuasicus Laurent, 1985, L. montanus Koslowsky, 1898, L. orko Abdala & Quinteros, 2008, L. ortizi Laurent, 1982, L. pachecoi, L. pulcherrimus, L. qalaywa, L. tajzara Abdala et al., 2019; L. thomasi Laurent, 1998, and L. williamsi which possess imbricate or subimbricate dorsals with an evident keel.
The number of scales around midbody in L. kunza sp. nov., varies between 71 to 86 (X = 78.4), a character that distinguishes it from various species of the L. montanus group that have means of greater than 85 scales around midbody, as in L. andinus Koslowsky, 1895, L. eleodori Cei et al., 1985, L. erguetae Laurent, 1995, L. erroneous, L. gracielae Abdala et al., 2009, L. halonastes, L. molinai Valladares et al., 2002, L. nigriceps, L. patriciaiturrae, L. porosus Abdala et al., 2013, L. robertoi Pincheira-Donoso & Nuñez, 2004, L. rosenmanni Nuñez & Navarro, 1992, L. vallecurensis Pereira, 1992, or means of less than 70 as in L. annectens, L. aymararum, L. chlorostictus, L. dorbignyi, L. etheridgei, L. evaristoi, L. fabiani, L. famatinae, L. fittkaui, L. griseus, L. hajeki, L. huayra, L. huacahuasicus, L. inti, L. jamesi, L. igneus, L. melanogaster, L. montanus, L. orientalis, L. orko, L. ortizi, L. pachecoi, L. pantherinus Pellegrin, 1909, L. poconchilensis, L. polystictus, L. puritamensis, L. robustus, L. scrocchii, L. thomasi, L. vulcanus, and L. williamsi.
The number of ventrals between the mental and the border of the cloaca in L. kunza sp. nov. varies between 89 and 104 (X = 98.4) and is lower than in species with means of greater than 105 ventrals as in L. andinus, L. cazianiae Lobo et al., 2010, L. gracielae, L. patriciaiturrae, L. rosenmannii, and L. vallecurensis, and greater than in species with means of less than 85 ventrals as in L. annectens, L. aymararum, L. chlorostictus, L. disjunctus Laurent, 1990, L. dorbignyi, L. etheridgei, L. evaristoi, L. fabiani, L. famatinae, L. fittkaui, L. forsteri, L. griseus, L. huacahuasicus, L. inti, L. jamesi, L. melanogaster, L. montanus, L. orientalis, L. orko, L. ortizi, L. poconchilensis, L. polystictus, L. pulcherrimus, L. puritamensis, L. robustus, L. thomasi, and L. williamsi.
Female L. kunza sp. nov. possess from 1 to 4 (X = 1.8) precloacal pores, which distinguishes them from female L. poecilochromus, which do not possess precloacal pores. They also differ from L. poecilochromus in their dorsal and ventral colour patterns, with evident dorsolateral bands in male L. kunza sp. nov., and the presence of small white spots distributed irregularly over the dorsal surfaces of the head and body, characters absent in L. poecilochromus. Also, male L. poecilochromus present a more intensely yellow ventral colouration than in L. kunza sp. nov. Female L. poecilochromus present a reddish dorsal colouration and an immaculate venter while female L. kunza sp. nov., present a predominantly grey dorsum and the venter presents small dark circular spots (Abdala et al. 2021).

Colouration in life. (Figs 1a–b) Dorsum and sides of the head uniformly light grey, with numerous irregularly distributed white scales or small white spots. Supralabials and infralabials lighter grey than the rest of the head, with some dark spots along the contacts between the scales. With a tenuous dark spot from the posterior part of the eye to the supralabials. A thin black longitudinal mark stands out in the temporal region, starting in posterior part of the eye and continuing to the scapular region where it has an irregular outline. The body colour is light chestnut with two continuous intense yellow dorsolateral bands, which continue to the first third of the tail. The dorsolateral bands are rather wide, occupying much of the sides of the body and present dorsal and ventral indentations. In the dorsal indentations there are small, subquadrangular to rounded, black paravertebral blotches; in the ventral indentations, there are large black rhomboid blotches. The vertebral field is wide and visible, with numerous white scales and spots scattered irregularly as on the head. Vertebral line absent. Side of the neck and scapular region are grey with tinges of chestnut and numerous black scales or spots distributed in a disorganized fashion. Also, there is a notable yellow rounded spot similar to those found on the lower region of the sides of the body. There are white scales scattered in the lateral black blotches. The dorsal surfaces of the limbs are of the same colour as the body and the lower part of the left is distinguished by a circular yellow spot. Dorsal surfaces of the hands and feet light grey. Tail is chestnut with some white spots and scales on the sides. Ventrally from the mental region to the cloaca, a yellowish white with some black spots from the infralabials to the shield scales, arranged parallel to each other. The sides of the abdomen present black blotches similar to those of the head. Ventral surface of tail light grey with numerous small, black, circular spots.
In the preserved specimen, the design is the same, the dark colours and white remain intense, but the yellow colour is not preserved, transforming into pale grey (Abdala et al. 2021).

Colouration. (Figs 1c–j) Liolaemus kunza sp. nov. demonstrates notable sexual dichromatism. In males, the dorsum of the head varies from grey, but always with white and/or light grey scales dispersed irregularly or as ‘spray’; these scales are repeated along the dorsum and sides of the body, limbs, and tail. On the sides of the head, there is a longitudinal black line, varying in thickness and sometimes being discontinuous. This line begins in the posterior part of the eye and continues to the scapular region where it blends with other irregularly distributed lines and black spots. The supralabial and infralabial scales are generally lighter coloured than the dorsum of the head and some individuals have dark borders along the edges of these scales. Neither scapular blotches nor antehumeral arcs have been observed, but numerous black scales and spots are found on the zone between the sides of the neck and the scapular region, which is generally light grey. Dorsally, the neck is of the same ground colour and patterns as the rest of the body. In adult males, the dorsum of the body is dominated by two broad and very evident dorsolateral bands that can be yellow, orange, red, or brown, but yellow is most frequent (Figs 1c–f). These bands may be continuous or discontinuous forming rhomboidal blotches or transverse bands across the body. In some specimens, including the holotype, the dorsolateral bands extend downwards on the sides of the body. Based on the colouration of the dorsolateral bands in the males, we can identify four distinct colour morphs: yellow (Fig. 1c), chestnut (Fig. 1d), orange (Fig. 1e), and red (Fig. 1f). The paravertebral blotches are small, black, and rounded to subquadrangular; in some individuals these blotches are outlined by a narrow series of white scales. The vertebral region is well delimited in most individuals and lacking a vertebral line. Black rhomboidal lateral blotches are present on the sides of the body of most individuals, including the holotype; however, these may be atomized and almost imperceptible or united forming longitudinal bands of variable width and irregular borders. Along the medial lateral line of the body of most individuals, there are small rounded blotches of the same colour as the dorsolateral bands, but these may be absent or reduced in number. The limbs are the same colour as the body, generally with numerous dark and light spots. The hands and feet in most specimens predominantly light grey. The tail maintains the same ground colour as the body, but the dorsolateral bands are absent, sometimes with a single spot over the vertebral region formed by the fusion of the paravertebral blotches. Ventrally, most males present a pale yellow or grey ground colour, with some faint dark markings in the form of striae or dots, which are typically on the neck, abdomen, and tail. In most individuals, the tail colouration changes after the first third of the intact tail, usually becoming more opaque or muted; however, in a few males, the colour intensifies.
Females generally have colour patterns similar to those of the males but more subdued or less evident (Fig. 1g). The dorsolateral bands, so conspicuous in males, are only subtly present in females and generally of pale reddish brown (Fig. 1g). The paravertebral and lateral blotches are mostly circular and in some specimens the paravertebral blotches have a white spot on the posterior margin. In some females, the lateral blotches unite and form a longitudinal band. The white and/or light grey scales dispersed in a ‘spray’ over the head, body, limbs, and tail are absent in females. The posterior two-thirds of the tail generally is of a more intense reddish colour dorsally. The venter of females is grey, with some yellow tinges on the throat and belly, as well as numerous darker dots on the throat, abdomen, and tail (Fig. 1h) (Abdala et al. 2021). 
CommentFor additional references see Abdala et al. 2021 (not provided upon request).

Diet: the greater part of the diet consists of plant matter (fruits, leaves, and flowers) of the añagua (Adesmia spinosissima Meyen, 1835), complemented by arthropods (ants, arachnids, diplurans, and beetles) (Valdecantos et al. 2012). 
EtymologyWe dedicate the scientific name of this spe- cies to the extinct Kunza language, which was spoken until the XIX century by peoples of the Altiplano of Argentina, Plurinational State of Bolivia, and Chile. 
References
  • Abdala, C. S., Paz, M. M., Semhan, R. V., García, N., Aguilar-Kirigin, A. J., Farías, M. E., ... & Langstroth, R. 2021. Increasing knowledge of the denizens of saline environments through integrative taxonomy: new Argentinian endemic taxa of Liolaemus (Iguania: Liolaemidae) and their evolutionary relationships. Systematics and Biodiversity, 1-89 - get paper here
 
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