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Oligosoma zelandicum (GRAY, 1843)

IUCN Red List - Oligosoma zelandicum - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Brown Skink 
SynonymTiliqua zelandica GRAY 1843: 202
Mocoa zelandica — GRAY 1845
Lygosoma zelandica GRAY 1843
Mocoa zelandica — BULLER 1870: 6
Leiolopisma ornata [MCCANN 1955] part
Leiolopisma zelandicum — GREER 1974
Leiolopisma zelandica — GILL 1976
Oligosoma zelandica — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985
Leiolopisma zelandicum — PATTERSON & DAUGHERTY 1993
Oligosoma zelandicum — PATTERSON & DAUGHERTY 1995
Oligosoma zelandicum — HICKSON et al. 2000
Oligosoma zelandicum — HITCHMOUGH et al. 2016
Oligosoma zelandicum — GOLLIN et al. 2020 
DistributionNew Zealand, North Island (Taranaki, Wellington), Cook Strait, South Island (Nelson)

Type locality: “Cook’s Strait”  
TypesHolotype: BMNH RR 1946.8.16.19 (see also GILL 1976) 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus): The clade comprising Oligosoma zelandicum (Gray, 1843), and all species that share a more recent common ancestor with O. zelandicum than with the Eugongylus group skinks of New Caledonia (specifically Nannoscincus mariei, Marmorosphax tricolor, Caledoniscincus austrocaledonicus, Lioscincus tillieri) and Australia (specifically Lampropholis guichenoti, Niveoscincus pretiosus, Morethia adelaidensis) (also see Smith et al., 2007). This genus includes all native skinks from New Zealand (including the Chatham Islands), the Lord Howe Island group, and Philip Island (6 km south of Norfolk Island). Members of this genus can be distinguished from the introduced delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata De Vis, 1888), which has its frontoparietals fused to form a single shield, by the presence of paired frontoparietals (Wilson and Swan, 2008; Jewell, 2008; Chapple et al. 2009). 
CommentSynonymy: Has been considered as a synonym of Oligosoma nigriplantare. Listed as synonym of Lygosoma moco by BOULENGER 1887: 272.

Type Species: Tiliqua zelandica GRAY 1843 is the type species of the genus Oligosoma. Hardy (1977) suggested that M. zelandica was a composite of T. zelandica and a second species, which may have been O. moco. Patterson and Daugherty (1995) nominated O. moco as the type species when reinstating Oligosoma. Chapple et al. (2009) argued that Patterson and Daugherty’s (1995) nomination of O. moco as type species of Oligosoma was invalid. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • BARR, B. P., CHAPPLE, D. G., HITCHMOUGH, R. A., PATTERSON, G. B., & BOARD, N. T. 2021. A new species of Oligosoma (Squamata: Scincidae) from the northern North Island, New Zealand. Zootaxa 5047 (4): 401-415 - 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
  • Buller, W. 1871. A list of the lizards inhabiting New Zealand, with descriptions. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute, 3 [1870]:4-11 - get paper here
  • Chapple, D.G.; Patterson, G.B. 2007. A new skink species (Oligosoma taumakae sp. nov.; Reptilia: Scincidae) from the Open Bay Islands, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 34: 347-357 - get paper here
  • Chapple, David G.; Peter A. Ritchie, Charles H. Daugherty 2009. Origin, diversification, and systematics of the New Zealand skink fauna (Reptilia: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52 (2): 470-487 - get paper here
  • Gill, B.J. 1976. Aspects of the ecology, morphology, and taxonomy of two skinks (Reptilia: Lacertilia) in the coastal Manawatu area of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 3: 141-157 - get paper here
  • Gollin, J. F., Gorman, N., & Armstrong, D. P. 2020. Twenty years on: changes in lizard encounter rates following eradication of rats from Kāpiti Island. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 45(1), [2021] - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1843. Descriptions of the reptiles and Amphibia hitherto observed in New Zealand. Pp. 202-206. In Dieffenbach, E., Travels in New Zealand. J. Murray, London, 396 pp. - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Hardy, G. 1977. The New Zealand Scincidae: a taxonomic study. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 4: 221-325 - get paper here
  • HICKSON, Robert E.; KERRYN E. SLACK AND PETER LOCKHART 2000. Phylogeny recapitulates geography, or why New Zealand has so many species of skinks. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 70: 415–433 - get paper here
  • Hitchmough, Rodney A.; Geoffrey B. Patterson, and David G. Chapple 2016. Putting a Name to Diversity: Taxonomy of the New Zealand Lizard Fauna. in: Chapple, D.G. (ed). New Zealand Lizards. Springer, pp. 87-108 - get paper here
  • O’Neill, Shay B.; David G. Chapple, Charles H. Daugherty and Peter A. Ritchie 2008. Phylogeography of two New Zealand lizards: McCann’s skink (Oligosoma maccanni) and the brown skink (O. zelandicum). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48 (3): 1168-1177 - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B. & Bell, T.P. 2009. The Barrier skink Oligosoma judgei n. sp. (Reptilia: Scincidae) from the Darran and Takitimu Mountains, South Island, New Zealand. Zootaxa 2271: 43–56 - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B. and Daugherty, C.H. 1994. Leiolopisma stenotis, n. sp., (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae) from Stewart Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 24(1): 125-132. - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B.; Daugherty, C.H. 1995. Reinstatement of the genus Oligosoma (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae). J. Royal Soc. New Zealand 25 (3): 327-331 - get paper here
  • Turner, Frederick B.; Robert I. Jennrich, Joel D. Weintraub 1969. Home Ranges and Body Size of Lizards Ecology 50 (6): 1076-1081
  • van Winkel, D., Baling, M. & Hitchmough, R. 2018. Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand: A field guide. Auckland University Press, Auckland, 376 pp.
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