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Ornithuroscincus bengaun SLAVENKO, TAMAR, TALLOWIN, KRAUS, ALLISON, CARRANZA & MEIRI, 2021

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymOrnithuroscincus bengaun SLAVENKO, TAMAR, TALLOWIN, KRAUS, ALLISON, CARRANZA & MEIRI 2021
 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Milne Bay Province)

Type locality: Papua New Guinea, Milne Bay Province, saddle between Mt Dayman and Mt Suckling, Sota (9.7580°S, 149.1822°E), 1860 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: BPBM 37741 (field tag FK 15374), adult male, collected by F. Kraus, on 20 March 2011. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderate-sized species of Ornithuroscincus (adult SVL 48.2 mm), characterized by the unique combination of long limbs (forelimbs 36.3% of SVL, hindlimbs 47.3% of SVL); frontoparietals fused; nuchals single pair; paravertebral scales 55; mid-body scale rows 30; 4th digit on front foot no longer than 3rd; subdigital lamellae 20 under 4th toe; single supradigital scales six on 4th toe; dorsal coloration uniform bronze; slightly zigzag unfragmented dorsolateral stripes present, one to one and a half scales wide, extending from orbital region to tail, pale brown in preservative, pale yellow in life; dark brown lateral field present, speckled with light blue spots a single scale wide; ventral surfaces uniform light blue in preservative, darker on the chin; brown spotting absent from chin, abdomen, thighs and precloacal region; light brown spotting present on ventral surfaces of tail; palmar and plantar surfaces light brown. (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Ornithuroscincus bengaun differs from all other species of Ornithuroscincus by its distinct colour pattern consisting of uniform bronze mid-dorsum with distinct, thick, pale brown dorsolateral stripes. It further differs from O. albodorsalis, O. nototaenia, O. sabini and O. cf. venemai in having fused (vs. unfused) frontoparietals and by lacking a parietal eye spot (vs. present). It further differs from O. cf. venemai by having a higher count of midbody scale rows (30 vs. 24–26; Brongersma, 1953a). It further differs from O. albodorsalis, O. noctua and O. nototaenia by having a higher count of midbody scale rows (30 vs. 22–26, 23–28 and 24–25, respectively; Zweifel, 1979; Shea & Greer, 2002). (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal surfaces uniform olive green (Fig. 16). Dorsolateral stripes paler bronze. Lateral field medium brown, darker along dorsal margin, flecked with pale bronze (dorsally) or white (ventrally) spots a single scale wide. Field notes in life stated: “Olive green above with metallic yellow-brown dorsolateral stripe; sides brown with pale yellow-brown spots. Face brown; temporal region brown with metallic green sheen. Chin white with pale green sheen, chest and abdomen metallic green yellow, under tail orange”. (Slavenko et al. 2021).
 
Comment 
EtymologyThe name is from the Daga word bengaun, a small, dark lizard. Daga is the language spoken in the area from which this species was collected. 
References
  • Slavenko, Alex, Karin Tamar, Oliver J. S. Tallowin, Fred Kraus, Allen Allison, Salvador Carranza & Shai Meiri. 2021. Revision of the montane New Guinean skink genus Lobulia (Squamata: Scincidae), with the description of four new genera and nine new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society - get paper here
 
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