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Lygosoma quadrupes (LINNAEUS, 1766)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Lygosominae (Lygosomini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Short-limbed Supple Skink, Linnaeus' Writhing Skink
G: Asiatischer Schlankskink 
SynonymAnguis quadrupes LINNAEUS 1766: 390
Lacerta serpens BLOCH 1776
Lacerta abdominalis THUNBERG 1787
Chalcida serpens — MEYER 1795: 31
Scincus brachypus SCHNEIDER 1799: 192 (or 1801)
Seps pentadactylus DAUDIN 1802
Mabuya serpens — FITZINGER 1826
Lygosoma serpens — HARDWICKKE & GRAY 1827
Podophis quadrupes — WIEGMANN 1834
Lygosoma abdominalis GRAY 1839: 332
Lygosoma brachypoda DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 721
Podophis chalcides GRAY 1845
Lygosoma brachypoda — GRAVENHORST 1851: 367
Eumeces chalcides — GÜNTHER 1864
Eumeces chalcides — LEIDY 1884: 66 (?)
Lygosoma chalcides — BOULENGER 1887: 340
Lygosoma chalcides — TAYLOR 1922: 233
Lygosoma quadrupes — COCHRAN 1930
Lygosoma quadrupes — SMITH 1935: 290
Lygosoma quadrupes — TAYLOR 1963: 1049
Lygosoma quadrupes — GREER 1970
Lygosoma quadrupes — BROWN & ALCALA 1980: 108
Gongylus brachypoda — FRANK & RAMUS 1995: 187
Lygosoma quadrupes — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 267
Lygosoma quadrupes — COX et al. 1998: 115
Lygosoma quadrupes — GAULKE 1999
Lygosoma quadrupes — ZIEGLER et al. 2007
Lygosoma quadrupes — KOCH 2012
Lygosoma quadrupes — SILER et al. 2018
Lygosoma quadrupes — FREITAS et al. 2019 
DistributionIndonesia (restricted to Java by Siler et al. 2018)

Type locality: Java.  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: unlocated; no depository indicated by Linnaeus. Catalogues of Linnaean types in the Stockholm and Uppsala collections do not list this species (Lonnberg, 1896; Andersson, 1899, 1900), and Das (2012) was similarly unable to identify any type specimen. Siler et al. (2018) erroneously list ZMB 1276 as a syntype.
Syntype: ZMB 1276 (see Bauer & Günther, 2006). Bloch (1776) redescribed this species based on two specimens and provided illustrations of both. Investigation by Bauer and Günther (2006) revealed that only a single syntype of this species remains (ZMB 1276) which was the larger of the two specimens illustrated in Bloch’s (1776) redescription and that the missing syntype may have been lost or destroyed prior to the receipt of these specimens to ZMB (Siler et al. 2018). [Lacerta serpens]

DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Lygosoma can be identified by the following combination of characters: (1) body size small to large (SVL 49–168 mm); (2) trunk moderately elongate to elongate (AGD 58–93% SVL); (3) digits short (FinIIILam 4–9, ToeIVLam 5–13); (4) MBSRC 25–38; (5) PVSRC 84–123; (6) lower eyelid scaly; (7) supranasal scales in contact medially or not in contact medially, usually fully or partially fused with nasals; (8) prefrontals not in contact medially; (9) frontoparietal single or paired; (10) parietals in contact medially posterior to interparietal; (11) enlarged nuchal scales present or absent; and (12) palatine bones with posteriomedially projecting processes, pterygoids emarginated along posterior edge [Freitas et al. 2019]. 
CommentSynonymy after SMITH 1935. The name Podophis has been also suggested for an extinct snake, Podophis descouensi RAGE & ESCUILLIÉ 2000. Later this name was replaced by Eupodophis descouensi RAGE & ESCUILLIÉ 2002.
Lygosoma (Siaphos) lacertosum from Werner 1917 cannot be assigned to any known species given that the type specimen has been lost (J. Hallermann, pers. comm. 20 Dec 2013).

Phylogenetics: The genus Lygosoma s.s. is not monophyletic, with the African genera Mochlus and Lepidothyris nested in Lygosoma s.s. For a phylogenetic analysis of the subfamily Lygosominae see Ghosh et al. 2023.

Type Species: Anguis quadrupes LINNAEUS 1766 is the type species of the genus Lygosoma HARDWICKKE & GRAY 1827. Lygosoma is also the type genus of the (sub-) family Lygosominae (or Lygosomidae). Note that the correct group name is actually Lygosomatinae (-idae), following Article 29 of the Code. However, prevailing usage dictates that the incorrect but established form of the family group name be used (Allen et al. 2017).
Lygosoma is also the type genus of the family Lygosomidae Hedges & Conn 2012: 28 and the subfamily Lygosominae Gray 1845 in which Shea 2021 included the tribus Lygosomini Gray 1845, Ateuchosaurini Hedges 2014 (here: Ateuchosaurinae), Tiliquini Gray 1845 (here: Egerniinae), Eugongylini Welch 1982 (here: Eugongylinae), Ristellini Hedges 2014 (here: Ristellinae), Sphenomorphini Welch 1982 (here: Sphenomorphinae), and Mabuyini Mittleman 1952 (here: Mabuyinae).

The generic assignments to Lygosominae in this database follows Hedges 2014.

Key: Geissler et al. 2011 provide a key to the Lygosoma of Indochina.

Distribution: reports from Cambodia, Laos, West Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam represent L. siamensis SILER et al. 2018.

Habitat: forested habitats at lower elevations (Siler et al. 2018)

Limb morphology: Reduced limbs. 
EtymologyNamed after the fact that this species has 4 reduced limbs (Latin pes = foot), which is misleading as all species have 4 limbs. However, in the past the genus also included limb-reduced species, now assigned to other genera (e.g. Anomalopus or Lerista).

Lygosoma means ‘writhing body’ in Greek (lygos = writhe, soma = body). Genus names ending in -soma are feminine (Böhme & Denzer 2019). However, Ganesh 2017 claims that Lygosoma is neuter, without further explanation. 
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  • Bloch 1776. Beschäft. Ges. Nat. Fr. Berlin 2: 28
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  • Böhme, W. & Denzer, W. 2019. Warum die Endungen adjektivischer Artnamen dem Geschlecht der Gattungsnamen angepasst werden müssen Sauria 41 (1): 55–62 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
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  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • Darevsky I S. & Orlova V F. 1996. A new species of slender skinks, Lygosoma carinatum (Sauria, Scincidae), from South Vietnam [in Russian]. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal (5): 791-795.
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  • FREITAS, ELYSE S.; ANIRUDDHA DATTA-ROY, PRAVEEN KARANTH, L. LEE GRISMER and CAMERON D. SILER 2019. Multilocus phylogeny and a new classification for African, Asian and Indian supple and writhing skinks (Scincidae: Lygosominae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 186 (4): 1067–1096 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R. 2017. On the poorly-known White-spotted Skink Lygosoma albopunctatum (Gray, 1846) (Reptilia: Scincidae) with further topotypical records and notes on the type locality. JoTT 9 (9): 10662–10668 - get paper here
  • Gaulke M. 1999. Die Herpetofauna von Calauit Island (Calamianes-Inseln, Provinz Palawan, Philippinen) (Amphibia et Reptilia). Faun. Abh. Staatl. Mus. Tierk. Dresden 21 (19): 273-282
  • GEISSLER, PETER; TIMO HARTMANN & THY NEANG 2012. A new species of the genus Lygosoma Hardwicke & Gray, 1827 (Squamata: Scincidae) from northeastern Cambodia, with an updated identification key to the genus Lygosoma in mainland Southeast Asia. Zootaxa 3190: 56–68 - get paper here
  • Geissler, Peter; Truong Quang Nguyen, Trung My Phung, Robert Wayne Van Devender, Timo Hartmann, Balázs Farkas, Thomas Ziegler and Wolfgang Böhme 2011. A review of Indochinese skinks of the genus Lygosoma Hardwicke & Gray, 1827 (Squamata: Scincidae), with natural history notes and an identification key. Biologia 66 (6): 1159-1176 - get paper here
  • Ghosh, A., Sil, M., Ukuwela, K. B., & Datta‐Roy, A. 2023. Independent origins or single dispersal? Phylogenetic study supports early Cenozoic origin of three endemic Indo‐Sri Lankan Lygosomine skink genera. Zoologica Scripta - get paper here
  • Gravenhorst, J. L. C. 1851. Über die im Zoologischen Museum der Universität Breslau Befindlichen Wirtelschleichen (Pseudosaura), Krüppelfüssler (Brachypoda), und einige andere, Denselben verwandte Reptilien aus den Zünften der Schleichen und Dickzüngler [Euprepes striolatus]. Acta Acad. Caes. Leop. Carol. Nat. Cur. 23 (1): 291-394 [1847] - get paper here
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  • Grismer, L. Lee; Thy Neang, Thou Chav, Perry L. Wood, Jr., Jamie R. Oaks, Jeremy Holden, Jesse L. Grismer, Thomas R. Szutz and Timothy M. Youmans 2008. Additional amphibians and reptiles from the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in Northwestern Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia, with comments on their taxonomy and the discovery of three new species. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 56 (1): 161-175 - get paper here
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