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Lobulia huonensis SLAVENKO, TAMAR, TALLOWIN, KRAUS, ALLISON, CARRANZA & MEIRI, 2021

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLobulia huonensis SLAVENKO, TAMAR, TALLOWIN, KRAUS, ALLISON, CARRANZA & MEIRI 2021
 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Madang Province, Morobe Province)

Type locality: Papua New Guinea, Madang Province, Finisterre Range, Dopeke (5.9538°S, 146.5573°E), 2646 m elevation.  
ReproductionViviparous. Only a single gravid female was collected, with two embryos, but litter size is presumably variable in this species, as in other members of the genus. (Slavenko et al. 2021) 
TypesHolotype: BPBM 40322 (field tag AA 20573), adult male, collected by A. Allison, on 3 October 2010.
Paratypes (n = 18): Papua New Guinea: Morobe Province: Saruwaged Range: Tobo, 6.367°S, 147.37°E (WGS 84), 1600 m a.s.l. (BPBM 2893; male); Madang Province: Finisterre Range: same locality as holotype (BPBM 40320, 40323; one male, one female); Wil, near Teptep, 5.9438°S, 146.5549°E (WGS 84), 2359 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40321, 40330–31; two males, one female); ridge N of Teptep, 5.9369°S, 146.5499°E (WGS 84), 2662 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40324, 40327, 40332; one male, one female, one juvenile); c. 1.6 km NW of Teptep, 5.9392°S, 146.5523°E (WGS 84), 2556 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40325; male); c. 11 km WNW of Teptep, 5.9365°S, 146.5487°E (WGS 84), 2686 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40326; male); c. 2 km NNW of Teptep, 5.9339°S, 146.5567°E (WGS 84), 2564 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40328–29; one male, one female); Siwasiwa, 5.9377°S, 146.5592°E (WGS 84), 2440 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40333; juvenile); Siwasiwa Camp, near Teptep, 5.9464°S, 146.5601°E (WGS 84), 2478 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40334, 40337; two males); vicinity of Teptep Station, 5.9552°S, 146.5595°E (WGS 84), 2173 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40335; female); “ca. 2 km NW of Teptep”, 5.9334°S, 146.5336°E (WGS 84), 2687 m a.s.l. (BPBM 40336; male). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized species of Lobulia (adult SVL 45.2–63.9 mm), characterized by the unique combination of frontoparietals unfused; supraorbital ridges not pronounced; nuchals 1–3 pairs; paravertebral scales 59–68; mid-body scale rows 33–38; 4th digit on front foot longer than 3rd; subdigital lamellae 19–25 under 4th toe; single supradigital scales 3–4 on 4th toe; mid-dorsum with two rows of large dark brown spots on an olive green background; top of tail base with two rows of large dark brown spots; fragmented white dorsolateral stripes present, extending from parietals to base of tail; flanks dark brown with light spots; unbroken white lateral stripes present, extending from occiput to hindlimbs; ventral coloration light blue on chin, light blue to lemon yellow on abdomen and base of tail in life, uniform light blue in preservative; thighs and precloacal region lack brown spotting; ventral surfaces of tail speckled with light brown spots forming fragmented parallel longitudinal lines; palmar and plantar surfaces pale to lemon yellow in life, light brown in preservative. (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Lobulia huonensis differs from Lo. brongersmai in having unfused (vs. fused) frontoparietals. It differs from Lo. elegans and Lo. fortis in having white dorsolateral stripes and lateral stripes (vs. absent). Lobulia huonensis is most similar in scalation and general habitus to Lo. lobulus. It differs from it in dorsal coloration—whereas Lo. lobulus has dorsal rows of dark brown spots joined to form two mid-dorsal stripes, Lo. huonensis has large mid-dorsal dark brown spots arrayed in parallel longitudinal rows (not creating stripes), giving it an overall “lighter” appearance—and in having a higher average count of paravertebral scales [62.7 (59–68) vs. 57.7 (54–61)]. (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal surfaces coppery brown with two parallel mid-dorsal rows of large dark brown spots (Figs 6, 12). Dorsolateral stripes white to pale yellow. Sides dark brown to jet black with white or pale yellow spotting and white or pale yellow lateral stripe extending from occiput to hind limbs. Coloration of sides becomes gradually lighter ventrally from lateral stripes. Chin pale blue. Chest, abdomen, precloacal region, thighs and base of tail range from pale blue (BPBM 40335) through light lime green to bright lemon yellow. Yellow coloration more prominent in adult males. (Slavenko et al. 2021).
 
CommentSimilar species: L. lobulus, L. vogelkopensis. 
EtymologyThe Latin adjectival suffix –ensis denotes belonging to a place and is used in reference to the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea, where the type series was collected. 
References
  • Slavenko, Alex, Karin Tamar, Oliver J. S. Tallowin, Fred Kraus, Allen Allison, Salvador Carranza & Shai Meiri. 2021. Revision of the montane New Guinean skink genus Lobulia (Squamata: Scincidae), with the description of four new genera and nine new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 195 (1): 220–278 - get paper here
 
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