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Marmorosphax taom SADLIER, SMITH, BAUER & WHITAKER, 2009

IUCN Red List - Marmorosphax taom - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymMarmorosphax taom SADLIER, SMITH, BAUER & WHITAKER 2009 
DistributionNew Caledonia (Mt. Taom), 1,100 m elevation.

Type locality: Massif Ouazangou-Taom, Mt. Taom summit, 20°47’05”S, 164°34’42”E.  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2005.0318 (formerly AMS R161183) 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS. Marmorosphax taom n. sp. can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: dorsal scale rows 65-71; fourth toe lamellae 31-36; dorsal surface with dark markings scattered randomly; lateral surface with pale markings present as light blotches either scattered or aligned transversely down the side of the body; underside of head of adult females with bold dark blotches on the throat. Marmorosphax taom n. sp. most closely resembles Marmorosphax tricolor and M. kaala n. sp. in colouration and scalation. The random alignment of dark markings on the dorsal surface and the scattered or transverse alignment of pale markings along the lateral surface distinguishes Marmorosphax taom n. sp. from Marmorosphax kaala n. sp. which has a distinct row of dark markings along the paravertebral axis and pale markings on the side of the body aligned to form a broken mid-lateral stripe. Marmorosphax taom n. sp. was compared to the specimens of Marmorosphax tricolor from Mt. Aoupinié (85 km south) which represents the population from which the neotype for Lygosoma tricolor Bavay, 1869 was selected. No single feature of morphology readily distinguishes from M. taom n. sp. from M. tricolor, and its recognition as distinct evolutionary species rests primarily on the deep divergences between the two taxa as identified in the DNA sequence data. Scalation characters readily distinguish Marmorosphax taom n. sp. from Marmorosphax boulinda n. sp. and Marmorosphax montana, both of which have more vertebral scales on the body and usually more scales under the toes (see Table 1). 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyETYMOLOGY. — The epithet is a noun in apposition in reference to the type locality, Mt. Taom. 
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • 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
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