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Marmorosphax montana SADLIER & BAUER, 2000

IUCN Red List - Marmorosphax montana - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymMarmorosphax montana SADLIER & BAUER, 2000 
DistributionNew Caledonia, elevation 900-1000 m.

Type locality: Mt. Ouin, south face (22° 00’ 34’’ S, 166° 27’ 26’’ E), 1050-1150 m elevation, New Caledonia.  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 1998.0466; paratypes at AMS 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS. Marmorosphax montana can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: dorsal scale rows 71-78; fourth toe lamellae 35-41; dorsal surface with a pattern of light and dark markings in females forming roughly alternating brown (1-2 scale width) and black (1 scale width) rows across the body, males with a more muted pattern; lateral surface with scattered obscure pale blotches (males) or obvious pale markings (females); throat with overall light brown wash (males) or with small black blotches (females). Scalation characters will readily distinguish Marmorosphax montana from Marmorosphax kaala n. sp., Marmorosphax taom n. sp. and Marmorosphax tricolor all of which have fewer scales under the toes (see Table 1). Marmorosphax montana can be further distinguished from sympatric M. tricolor in having more scales on the dorsal surface of the fourth finger and toe, and females in having obscure (vs bold) pale markings on the labials. Marmorosphax montana is most similar in overall appearance and scalation to Marmorosphax boulinda n. sp. It can be distinguished by its overall darker dorsal colouration (brown and black vs cream and brown) giving it an overall bolder appearance, and in females by having darker and more extensive throat markings. Recognition of Marmorosphax montana as an evolutionary species distinct from Marmorosphax boulinda n. sp. is supported by the deep divergences between the two taxa as identified in the DNA sequence data. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “montanus”, meaning “pertaining to mountains. 
  • Bauer, A. M. & SADLIER, R. A. (eds.) 2000. The herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Contributions to Herpetology, 17; Society for Study Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.
  • Sadlier R. A., Smith, S.A.; Bauer A. M. & Whitaker A. H. 2009. Three new species of skink in the genus Marmorosphax Sadlier (Squamata: Scincidae) from New Caledonia. in Grandcolas, P. (ed.), Zoologia Neocaledonica 7. Biodiversity studies in New Caledonia. Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle 198: 373-390
  • Sadlier, R. A. & A. M. BAUER 2000. The scincid genus Marmorosphax (Reptilia: Scincidae) from New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific: description of a new species restricted to high-altitude forest in Province Sud. Pacific Science 54: 56-62
  • Sadlier, R.A.; Smith, S.A.; Bauer, A.M. 2006. A new genus for the New Caledonian scincid lizard Lygosoma euryotis Werner, 1909, and the description of a new species. Rec. Austral. Mus. 58 (1):19-28. - get paper here
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