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Neusticurus surinamensis MÜLLER, 1923

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Red Neusticurus 
SynonymNeusticurus surinamensis MÜLLER 1923: 295
Neusticurus dejongi BRONGERSMA 1927: 543
Neusticurus surinamensis — KOK et al. 2018 
DistributionBrazil (Pará)

Type locality: Monte Dourado, Área 56, Almeirim Municipality, State of Pará, Brazil (0°42'43”S / 52°40'01”W) (neotype locality).  
TypesNeotype. MPEG 24032, male, collected on a secondary forest in a 35L pitfall trap at 11:15 AM by T.A. Gardner and M.A. Ribeiro Jr. in Holotype: ZSM 20/1923 (lost in World War II, according to Uzzell 1966 and Franzen & Glaw 2007), male. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Neusticurus surinamensis can be distinguished of all other members of Neusticurus by the following combination of characters: frontonasal divided, prefrontals and frontal present, tympanum superficial, temporals distinctly heterogeneous in size, often with one temporal scale distinctly larger than adjacent ones, approximately in the middle of temporal region, clear distinction between gular and neck scales, tubercles on dorsum developed, juxtaposed, forming a continuous and straight row from occiput to the base of tail, flanks covered with large trihedral tubercles, surrounded by many small scales, verticils on tail with 2 dorsal tubercles and 3-4 lateral scales, 30-41 dorsal tubercles on longitudinal row, 31-45 total pores in males (Marques-Souza et al. 2018: 2, supplementary information).

Variation in Neusticurus surinamensis. Meristic variation found on the specimens analyzed is described in Table 3. Discrete variation goes as follows: The paravertebral row of tubercles is generally continuous; however, in three specimens (MPEG 17852, 29387, 24449), the row became diffuse in the posterior half of the body until the beginning of tail, where it became aligned again.
Variation is also found in the continuity of rows of tubercles on the beginning of tail. From 46 specimens analyzed to this character, on nine the row on tail is continuous, that is, all tubercles are in contact with the adjacent ones. In the remaining 36 specimens the row is discontinuous and one to two small scales separate tubercles. This trait appears to be correlated with geography: all specimens analyzed from Serra do Acaraí (three) and Mazagão (two) have a continuous row on tail, plus four out of seven specimens from Monte Dourado (type locality) and one out of six from Porto Trombetas. We also detected a high variation in the presence or absence of an azyguous scale between frontonasals and prefrontals. From 46 specimens, 17 did not have it and 29 have it, without being related with geography, since on better sampled localities (e.g. Serra do Navio and Monte Dourado), specimens show both situations. All specimens analyzed have three pairs of chinshields, except by MPEG 27427, in which the first pair of chinshield is divided transversally, resulting in four pairs, and MPEG 24224, in which the first two pairs are fused, resulting in two pairs of chinshields.

Comparisons with other Neusticurus species. Neusticurus surinamensis can be readily distinguished from N. rudis (Figs. S4 and S5) (state of character in parentheses) by the divided frontonasal (single), dorsal tubercles in the middle of the body forming a straight row (diffuse), two developed tubercles per verticilum on tail (three), flanks covered with large trihedral tubercles, surrounded by many small scales (large keeled scales, surrounded by few small scales; Fig. S5), loreal separated of supraoculars by several juxtaposed scales (in contact with supralabials, or separated by frenocular), temporals distinctly heterogeneous in size, changing abruptly in size from one scale to adjacent ones, especially in the middle of temporal region (temporals about the same size, gradually increasing to the border of temporal region), clear distinction between scales on gular region of the head and the neck (no distinction), 30-41 dorsal tubercles on longitudinal row (40-44), strong sexual dimorphism in number of femoral pores (absence or weak dimorphism).
From N. bicarinatus, N. surinamensis differs on having a superficial tympanum (deep recessed in auditory meatus), temporals distinctly heterogeneous in size, changing abruptly in size from one scale to adjacent ones, especially in the middle of temporal region (temporals gradually changing size), three to four scales on lateral of tail per verticilum (two scales), flanks covered with large trihedral tubercles, surrounded by many small scales (large keeled scales, surrounded by very few or none small scales), no ocelli (present on the sides of neck) and 30-41 dorsal tubercles on longitudinal row (40-57).
The distinction of N. surinamensis among N. racenisi, N. medemi and N. tatei are trivial, and two very distinctive character are the presence of a divided frontonasal (single) and developed tubercles on dorsum (undeveloped). Other characters are presented in Table 3. Figure S6 shows the general external morphology of Neusticurus species. 
CommentSynonymy: previously synonymized with N. rudis, but resurrected by Kok et al. 2018 and Marques-Souza et al. 2018. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Kok, Philippe J. R.; Mátyás A. Bittenbinder, Joris K. van den Berg, Sergio Marques-Souza, Pedro M. Sales Nunes, Alexandra E. Laking, Mauro Teixeira Jr, Antoine Fouquet, D. Bruce Means, Ross D. MacCulloch & Miguel Trefaut Rodrigues 2018. Integrative taxonomy of the gymnophthalmid lizard Neusticurus rudis Boulenger, 1900 identifies a new species in the eastern Pantepui region, north-eastern South America. Journal of Natural History 52: 1029-1066; DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2018.1439541 - get paper here
  • Marques-Souza S, Prates I, Fouquet A, et al. 2018. Reconquering the water: Evolution and systematics of South and Central American aquatic lizards (Gymnophthalmidae). Zool Scripta 47: 255–265 - get paper here
  • Müller, L. 1923. Neue oder seltene Reptilien und Batrachier der Zoologischen Sammlung des bayrischen Staates. Zool. Anz. 57 (7/8): 145-156 - get paper here
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