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Lygisaurus novaeguineae (MEYER, 1874)

IUCN Red List - Lygisaurus novaeguineae - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
Synonym? Lygosoma (Carlia) novaeguineae MEYER 1874
? Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) novae-guinae [sic] — SMITH 1937: 225
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) novae-guinae — BRONGERSMA 1948: 491
Carlia novaeguineae — COGGER 1983: 139
Lygisaurus novaeguineae — WHITING et al. 2003
Carlia novaeguineae — KRAUS 2007
Lygisaurus novaeguineae — DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland), SW Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Halmahera)

Type locality: Islands of Torres Straits, Qld. (Rubi, New Guinea, fide G.M. Shea, pers. comm., 2 March 2014). Neotype locality: Nabire, south coast of Cenderawasih (Geelvink) Bay, New Guinea, Indonesia (3.37° S, 135.48° E)  
TypesNeotype: BPBM 3768, (JL Gressitt, 9.vii.1962), designated by Kraus 2007. Original holotype: MTD = Dresden, destroyed during WW2 (Obst, 1977). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A relatively small species of Carlia distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: scales smooth; size small (maximum SVL 34.9 mm); supralabials usually six; supraciliaries eight or nine; fewer than 10 supradigital scales on fourth toe, 19–24 lamellae under the fourth toe (mean 5 21.5 6 0.27); 22–26 scale rows around midbody (mean 5 23.6 6 0.27); 35–39 paravertebral scales (mean 5 37.3 6 0.31); scales around ear margin not usually formed into lobules (Fig. 1A) but, when present, typically with a single blunt lobule of light or dark brown along the anterior margin; a uniformly light brown dorsal color pattern lacking light or dark dorsolateral or lateral stripes (Fig. 2A) but with a dark vertebral streak down the back; lower lateral region light and unmarked; ventral scales usually lacking any indication of dark spots; and dark spots present on the labial and temporal scales.
Carlia novaeguineae differs from species in the C. bicarinata complex and C. fusca complex in its smooth scales, small size, and only 8–9 supradigital scales on the fourth toe.
Carlia novaeguineae differs from the Australian species of the C. novaeguineae complex as follows: from Carlia foliorum and Carlia timlowi in having a moveable lower eyelid (vs. eyelid fused to form a spectacle); from Carlia abscondita, Carlia laeve, Carlia malleolus, Carlia rococo, Carlia sesbrauna, Carlia tanneri, and Carlia zuma in usually having six (vs. seven) supralabials; and from C. aerata in having eight (vs. seven) supraciliaries and no or blunt (vs. sharply triangular) ear lobules. Differences with C. macfarlani are given below under the account for that species (Kraus 2007). 
CommentSynonymy: Carlia novaeguineae has been synonymized with L. macfarlani but more recently considered as a valid species (Kraus 2007, Dolman & Hugall 2008). Carlia novaeguineae “has been traditionally known by the name novaeguinee (Boulenger 1887; Mitchell 1953; Cogger, Cameron & Cogger 1983). Meyer's (1874) description of Lygosoma (Carlia) Novae Guinea is brief and not helpful for identifying the taxon described. Also the holotype is missing (Cogger, Cameron & Cogger 1983).

Meyer's description, translated from German, is as follows: “Distinguished from C.melanopogon Gray by its brown violet metallic shimmering colour on the upper side and is black spotted on the head. Throat white and their is a white stripe under the eye. The white stripes on the scales of melanopogon never anterior. Body scales not small, in 23 rows. New Guinea.”

Although uninformative, the description of the colour and pattern does not match the colour and pattern of L. macfarlani, which does not have a white stripe under the eye. Neither does it match that of L. curtus of New Guinea. L. curtus (Boulenger 1897) is a good species by its robust form and the presence of a dark streak beginning at the nostril and continuing back 'through' the eye to the rear. A black streak is not mentioned by Meyer.

In summary, the species name novaeguineae cannot be applied convincingly to any of the Lygisaurus known from New Guinea. Clarification of the identity of the name will require review of the large collections of Lygisaurus species from that country." [from INGRAM & COVACEVICH 1988].

Not listed by COGGER 2014. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • 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
  • Dolman, Gaynor & Andrew F. Hugall 2008. Combined mitochondrial and nuclear data enhance resolution of a rapid radiation of Australian rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (3): 782-794 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1877. Descriptions of three new species of lizards from Islands of Torres Straits. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (4) 19: 413—415 - get paper here
  • Ingram G; Covacevich J 1988. Revision of the genus Lygisaurus de Vis (Scincidae: Reptilia) in Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 25 (2): 335-354
  • Kraus, F. 2007. Taxonomic partitioning within Papuan members of the Carlia novaeguineae complex (Squamata: Scincidae). Journal of Herpetology 41: 410–423 - get paper here
  • Meyer, A.B. 1874. Eine Mittheilung von Hern. Dr. Adolf Berhard Meyer über die von ihm auf Neu-Guinea und den Inseln Jobi, Mysore und Mafoor im Jahre 1873 gesammelten Amphibien. Monatsber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1874: 128-140 - get paper here
  • Setiadi, M. I. & A. Hamidy, 2006. Jenis-Jenis Herpetofauna di Pulau Halmahera. Kerjasama antara Pusat Studi Biodiversitas dan Konservasi Universitas Indonesia dan Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Puslit Biologi Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia. - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Stuart-Fox, Devi M., Andrew F. Hugall, and Craig Moritz 2002. A molecular phylogeny of rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia): taxonomic and biogeographic implications. Australian Journal of Zoology 50: 39–51 - get paper here
  • Whiting, A.S.; Aaron M. Bauer and Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships and limb loss in sub-Saharan African scincine lizards (Squamata: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29 (3): 582-598 - get paper here
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