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Ninurta coeruleopunctatus (HEWITT & METHUEN, 1913)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Blue-spotted (Girdled) Lizard 
SynonymZonurus coeruleopunctatus HEWITT & METHUEN 1913
Zonurus coeruleo-punctatus — ESSEX 1925
Cordylus coeruleo-punctatus — FITZSIMONS 1943
Cordylus coeruleopunctatus — FROST et al. 2001
Ninurta coeruleopunctatus — STANLEY et al. 2011
Ninurta coeruleopunctatus — BATES et al. 2014: 199
Ninurtia coeruleopunctatus — REISSIG 2014: 21 (in error)
Cordylus caeruleopunctatus — HERPMAPPER 2020 (in error) 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (S Cape from Mossel Bay to Witelsbos)

Type locality: Buffel’s Nek, between Knysna and Avontuur, South Africa.  
ReproductionOvoviviparous/viviparous, giving birth to 3–4 young. 
TypesHolotype: DNMNH (= TM) (Transvaal Museum) 
DiagnosisDefinition: Body gracile, limbs elongate, digits unreduced. Medium-sized (maximum SVL 82 mm). No occipital spines present, granular scales on nape. Keeled dorsal scales arranged in 40–46 transverse and 20–30 longitudinal rows. Spinose tail-whorls lacking. A band of granular lateral scales present between the dorsals and ventrals. Osteoderms widely distributed across body. Enamel blue spots on head and dorsum in eastern populations. Breeding males develop a yellow-to-orange gular patch (Stanley et al. 2011). 
CommentType species: Zonurus coeruleopunctatus HEWITT & METHUEN 1913 is the type species (and currently only species) of the genus Ninurta STANLEY et al. 2011. 
EtymologyNinurta (masculine) was, in Summerian and Akkadian mythology, among his other attributes, the god of rain and of the south wind. The name references the sole species’ occurrence along the cool, moist south coast of South Africa.
The species is named after its blue spots (Latin “coeruleus” = blue, “pucatatus” = spotted). 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Blerk, Dan van; Jens Reissig, Julia L. Riley, John Measey, James Baxter-Gilbert 2021. Observations of infanticide and cannibalism from four species of cordylid lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae) in captivity and the wild. Herpetology Notes 14: 725-729 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Essex, R. 1925. Descriptions of two new species of the genus Acontias and notes on some other lizards found in the Cape Province. Rec. Albany Mus. 3: 332-342.
  • Frost, D.; Janies, D.; Le Fras N. Mouton, P. & Titus, T. 2003. A molecular perspective on the phylogeny of the Girdled Lizards (Cordylidae, Squamata). American Museum Novitates (3310): 1-10 - get paper here
  • Hewitt,J. & Methuen,P.A. 1913. Descriptions of some new Batrachia and Lacertilia from South Africa. Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa (Cape Town) 3: 107-111 - get paper here
  • MOUTON, P. LE FRAS N.; DAHNÉ A. JANSE VAN RENSBURG and JOHANNES H. VAN WYK 2010. Epidermal glands in cordylid lizards, with special reference to generation glands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 312–324. - get paper here
  • Reissig, J. 2014. Girdled Lizards and Their Relatives. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, ISBN-10: 3899734378
  • Schönecker, P. 2014. Südafrika. Auf Reptiliensuche entlang der Garden Route. Reptilia (Münster) 19 (105): 80-93
  • Stanley, Edward L.; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman, William R. Branch, P. Le Fras N. Mouton 2011. Between a rock and a hard polytomy: rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1): 53-70. - get paper here
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