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

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

Type locality: Papua New Guinea, Milne Bay Province, Mt Suckling (9.7192°S, 148.9846°E), 3456 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: BPBM 47915 (field tag AA 19603), adult female, collected by P. Shearman, on 5 September 2009. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large species of Ornithuroscincus (adult SVL 69.2 mm), characterized by the unique combination of short limbs (forelimbs 28.4% of SVL, hindlimbs 35.6% of SVL); frontoparietals fused; nuchals single pair; paravertebral scales 83; mid-body scale rows 37; 4th digit on front foot longer than 3rd; subdigital lamellae 18 under 4th toe; single supradigital scales four on 4th toe; dorsal coloration jet black; medial dorsal golden striations extending posteriorly from occiput to tail, bordered laterally by fragmented golden stripes made up of narrow spots one to two scales long; dorsolateral stripes present as narrow uniform golden stripes, a half scale wide, extending from postorbital region to tail, bordered on both sides by parallel narrow golden striations; flanks jet black, marked with multiple spots one scale wide, pale blue in preservative, pale yellow in life; ventral surfaces pale blue in preservative, with dark brown blotches on chin and dark brown striations on chest, abdomen, thighs, precloacal region and tail, becoming more pronounced posteriorly; palmar and plantar surfaces dark brown. (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Ornithuroscincus shearmani is easily distinguished from all other species of Ornithuroscincus by its large size (adult SVL 69.2 vs. 29.4–62.3 mm), high paravertebral scale count (83 vs. 47–70) and unique colour pattern consisting of jet black dorsal coloration with golden mid-dorsal striations. It further differs from O. albodorsalis, O. nototaenia, O. sabini, O. inornatus, O. pterophilus and O. cf. venemai in having fused (vs. unfused) frontoparietals. (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal surfaces dark brown to jet black, with medial golden striations extending posteriorly from occiput to tail, bordered laterally by fragmented pale yellow stripes made up of thin spots one to two scales long (Fig. 16). Dorsolateral stripes pale yellow. Sides dark brown to jet black, marked irregularly with multiple pale yellow to white spots a single scale wide. Pale yellow spots cover dorsal surfaces of limbs. (Slavenko et al. 2021). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe species is named in honour of Dr Phil Shearman, who collected the sole specimen. 
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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