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Liolaemus parthenos ABDALA, BALDO, JUÁREZ & ESPINOZA, 2016

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymLiolaemus parthenos ABDALA, BALDO, JUÁREZ & ESPINOZA 2016
Liolaemus boulengeri CEI 1973: 464, in part
Liolaemus boulengeri — CEI & ROIG 1976: 71ff, in part
Liolaemus boulengeri — CEI & CASTRO 1978: 9, 21, Map 16, in part
Liolaemus boulengeri — CEI 1986: 220–221, in part
Liolaemus boulengeri — SCHULTE et al. 2000: 79, 87; table 1; figs. 4–6
Liolaemus sp. nov. MORANDO et al. 2004: 845; table 1–3; figs. 2, 8
Liolaemus sp. ABDALA & DIAZ GÓMEZ 2006: 29; fig. 3
Liolaemus sp. 3. ABDALA 2007: 51ff; figs. 32–36
Liolaemus cf. darwinii — PINCHEIRA-DONOSO et al. 2007: 32; fig. 3
Liolaemus cf. darwinii — SCHULTE 2013: 5; fig. 1
Liolaemus sp. 3 OLAVE et al. 2014: 329, 331; figs. 4, 6 
DistributionArgentina (Mendoza), 1305– 1600 m elevation

Type locality: Argentina, Mendoza Province, San Rafael Department, collected on the dunes next to El Nihuil Dam on Provincial Route 180, 35°2’19.77’’ S, 68°40’12.60’’ W, 1305 m elevation.  
Reproductionoviparous. Reproductively active females (well-developed eggs in oviducts) were observed in January (n = 5), and non-reproductive females were found in December and February (n = 13). However, in a different year, Abdala et al. 2016 found females with oviducts full of developing eggs in December (n = 11). These observations suggest that the reproductive period begins in November and lasts until late January.<br /><br />Parthenogenesis: Abdala et al. 2016 examined more than 300 specimens (of which 65 specimens were collected and preserved), but no males were encountered. L. grosseorum or L. laurenti are the suspected maternal ancestros and L. darwinii and L. laurenti may be the maternal ancestors, but this needs to be confirmed. 
TypesHolotype: FML 16221, adult female, C. Abdala, J. Abdala, and E. Malovini, January 2001 (Fig. 1). Paratypes. FML 16222–24, same data as holotype; IBAUNC 9772–73, 9775–77, Argentina, Mendoza Province, San Rafael, Department, 10 to 60 km S of El Nihuil, 35°7’0.71’’S, 68°41’4.28’’W to 35°33’49.47’’S, 68°41’15.14’’W, 1400–1600 m, 25 November 1973; IBAUNC 11431–35, Argentina, Mendoza Province, San Rafael Department, Pampa del Diamante, 34°54’44.39’’S, 68°51’38.58’’W, 1400 m, 17 February 1975; MHNSR 78–82, Argentina, Mendoza Province, San Rafael Department, Club de Pescadores, El Nihuil, 35°2’10.54’’S, 68°42’33.84’’W, 1325 m, 1 January 1975. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Liolaemus parthenos is the only known triploid unisexual iguanian lizard with the karyotype 3n = 49 (19M þ 30m). The new species is a member of the L. boulengeri group (Etheridge, 1995; Abdala, 2007), with which it shares a femoral patch of enlarged scales on the posterior thigh. The L. boulengeri group includes the following subclades (Abdala, 2007): L. anomalus, L. darwinii, L. wiegmannii, and L. melanops (1⁄4 L. telsen group þ L. goetschi group), each of which includes several species as described below. Within the L. boulengeri group, L. parthenos is a member of the L. darwinii group (Abdala, 2007), with which it shares the following eight synapomorphies: (1) 14–18 dorsal head scales; (2) 24–28 gulars; (3) tail length/SVL ratio: 1.40–1.65; (4) femur length/ SVL ratio: 0.16–0.20; (5) 1–3 differentiated scales along the lower half of the anterior border of the external auditory meatus; (6) weakly developed longitudinal fold; (7) dark line passing vertically through superciliaries, eye, and subocular; and (8) small prescapular spots. Liolaemus parthenos can be distinguished from species in the L. anomalus group (L. acostai, L. anomalus, L. ditadai, L. lentus, L. millcayac, L. pipanaco, and L. pseudoanomalus) because the new species has a tail that is longer than its body, a head that is longer than wide, and lacks both a palpebral ‘‘comb’’ and pterygoid teeth. Liolaemus parthenos can be distinguished from species in the L. wiegmannii group (L. arambarensis, L. azarai, L. cuyumhue, L. lutzae, L. multimaculatus, L. occipitalis, L. rabinoi, L. riojanus, L. salinicola, L. scapularis, and L. wiegmannii) because the new species has a single row of lorilabials between the subocular and the supralabials (2–3 rows in members of the L. wiegmannii group) and four scales around the mental (6 scales in the L. wiegmannii group species). The new species, can be distinguished from species of the L. goetschi group (L. camarones, L. canqueli, L. casamiquelai, L. chehuachekenk, L. cuyanus, L. dumerili, L. fitzingerii, L. goetschi, L. mapuche, L. melanops, L. morenoi, L. puelche, L. rothi, L. sagei, L. shehuen, L. tromen, and L. xanthoviridis) based on its shorter SVL (maximum SVL 63.4 mm vs. 77–106 mm for the aforemen- tioned taxa) and considerably less ventral melanism (except L. rothi and L. sagei). The new species also lacks the cephalic melanism typical of L. canqueli and L. melanops. With respect to L. casamiquelai, L. chehuachekenk, L. fitzingerii, L. morenoi, L. tromen, and L. xanthoviridis, the new species lacks the gular and antihumeral melanic collar that is typical of the aforementioned species. Liolaemus parthenos is distinct from L. cuyanus, L. goetschi, L. josei, L. mapuche, and L. puelche because the new species has four scales in contact with the mental, whereas L. cuyanus has six scales and L. goetschi, L. josei, L. mapuche, and L. puelche have from 4–6 scales in contact with the mental. The new species differs from L. donosobarrosi because the former has fewer scales around the midbody (mean 1⁄4 57.1; range 1⁄4 53–61 vs. mean 1⁄4 85.4; range 1⁄4 79–95, respectively). Also, the new species has a distinct dorsal pattern of quadrangular paravertebral markings, which distinguishes it from L. rothi, which has irregular markings that are not quadrangular. The new species also has pre- and postscapular spots that are not present in L. rothi. Liolaemus parthenos can be distinguished from species in the L. telsen group (L. boulengeri, L. hermannunezi, L. inacayali, L. loboi, L. martorii, L. purul, L. senguer, L. sitesi, and L. tehuelche) by its lack of gular melanism and dorsolateral bands that are more well defined. The new species differs from L. telsen because the former has less gular melanism, paravertebral markings are more well defined, well-defined dorsolateral bands, and fewer middorsal scales on the trunk (counted from occiput to anterior thigh: mean 1⁄4 65; range 1⁄4 61–68 vs. mean 1⁄4 88.8; range 1⁄4 83–96, respectively). The new species also differs from L. boulengeri, L. hermannunezi, L. loboi, L. martorii, L. purul, and L. tehuelche because the former has less conspicuous scapular spots. Within the L. darwinii group, L. parthenos is the only species with strongly cuspidate coronas and distally expanded cheek teeth, as well as a unique color pattern for the group. The new species can be further distinguished from members of the L. darwinii group (L. abaucan, L. albiceps, L. calchaqui, L. chacoensis, L. cinereus, L. crepuscularis, L. darwinii, L. diaguita, L. espinozai, L. grosseo- rum, L. irregularis, L. koslowskyi, L. laurenti, L. lavillai, L. montanezi, L. olongasta, L. ornatus, L. pacha, L. quilmes, and L. uspallatensis) because L. parthenos has a unique pattern of large dark brown or black quadrangular or subquadrangular paravertebral and lateral markings, white dorsolateral stripes, and a white abdomen with small dark spots. Liolaemus parthenos can be further distinguished from L. albiceps, L. calchaqui, L. crepuscularis, L. irregularis, L. lavillai, and L. ornatus because females of the latter three species possess precloacal pores and adult L. albiceps and L. irregularis are considerably larger than L. parthenos (L. parthenos: maximum SVL 63.4 mm vs. 82.5–86.1 mm, respectively). Finally, L. parthenos can be differentiated from L. darwinii because the new species lacks an antehumeral arch and abdominal and femoral melanism. 
CommentSynonymy after ABDALA et al. 2016.

Similar species: L. darwinii with which it nests in some phylogenetic analyses (Abdala et al. 2016: 491) and L. laurenti.

Sympatry: Aurivela longicauda (Teiidae), Diplolaemus sexcinctus, Leiosaurus bellii (Leiosauridae), Liolaemus gracilis, L. grosseorum. Oxyrhopus rhombifer, Philodryas trilineata, Xenodon semicinctus, Bothrops ammodytoides.

Karyotype: triploid with 3n = 49 chromosomes (19 macrochromosomes + 30 microchromosomes) (Abdala et al. 2016). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet parthenos is a Greek noun meaning ‘‘virgin’’ or ‘‘maiden,’’ in reference to the presumed reproductive strategy of this all-female species. 
  • Abdala, Cristián S.; Diego Baldo, Ricardo A. Juárez and Robert E. Espinoza 2016. The First Parthenogenetic Pleurodont Iguanian: A New All-female Liolaemus (Squamata: Liolaemidae) from Western Argentina. Copeia 104 (2): 487–497 - get paper here
  • Valdes J, Samoluk SS, Abdala CS, Baldo D, Seijo G. 2021. Structure and comparative analysis of the mitochondrial genomes of Liolaemus lizards with different modes of reproduction and ploidy levels. PeerJ 9: e10677 - get paper here
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