Panaspis massaiensis (ANGEL, 1924)
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|Higher Taxa||Scincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||E: Maasai Snake-eyed Skink|
|Synonym||Ablepharus Massaïensis ANGEL 1924: 52|
Ablepharus wahlbergii — LOVERIDGE 1920: 158
Ablepharus wahlbergii — LOVERIDGE 1923: 963
Ablepharus wahlbergii — LOVERIDGE 1929: 79
Ablepharus wahlbergii — LOVERIDGE 1933: 324
Ablepharus wahlbergii — LOVERIDGE 1936: 72
Ablepharus wahlbergii — LOVERIDGE 1957: 219
Ablepharus wahlbergii — BARBOUR & LOVERIDGE 1928: 163
Panaspis wahlbergii — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 16
Panaspis wahlbergii — SPAWLS et al. 2002: 155
Afroablepharus wahlbergi — BRANCH 2005: 77
Panaspis wahlbergi — RAZZETTI & MSUYA 2002: 53
Panaspis wahlbergi — MEDINA et al. 2016 (as Tanzania sp. 1 & 2)
Panaspis wahlbergi — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 165
Panaspis massaiensis — KILUNDA et al. 2019: 261
|Distribution||C/S Kenya, N Tanzania|
Type locality: Maasai plains near Nairobi
|Reproduction||oviparous. Loveridge (1923) recorded a large female with six developing eggs measuring 6 x 3 mm.|
|Types||Holotype. MNHN-RA 1904.306 (given as MHNP), adult unsexed collected 9 October 1903 by Charles Alluaud from the Maasai plains in Nairobi region, Kenya (Fig. 3). Basic measurements (in mm) of the holotype as provided in the original description: SVL = 42 mm, HL = 6 mm, HW = 4 mm, front limb = 6 mm, back limb = 11 mm.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. Panaspis massaiensis comb. nov. can be distinguished from other members of the East Africa Panaspis wahlbergi-maculicollis group by the following combination of characteristics: 1) the presence of a white ventrolateral stripe (absent in P. tsavoensis sp. nov. and P. maculicollis); 2) smaller average size (39.0 mm SVL versus 41.8 mm SVL in P. wahlbergi); 3) longer tail about 1.5 times SVL (versus 1.1 times SVL in P. wahlbergi), much shorter tail than P. megalurus (approx. 3 times SVL); 4) fused frontoparietal (divided in P. megalurus); 5) average 26 midbody scale rows (versus 24 in P. wahlbergi). Genetic pair-wise difference from its nearest congener P. tsavoensis sp. nov. is 5.87 % (see Table 2), from which it can be easily diagnosed with the presence of a white ventrolateral stripe (absent in 5 out of 23 specimens examined); 26 versus 24 midbody scale rows; longer eye-tym- panum distance and eye-snout distance (Table 4); higher number of subdigital lamellae under the fourth finger (7–9 versus 5) and higher number of supralabials in front of subocular (6–7 versus 5) [from Kilunda et al. 2019].|
|Comment||Synonymy: GUIBÉ 1954 synonymized Ablepharus massaiensis with A. wahlbergi but Kilunda et al. 2019 resurrected it.|
Distribution: see map in Kilunda et al. 2019: 257 (Fig. 1).
Habitat: terrestrial; found to burrow on loose debris or in holes during the day. They move quickly on the surface within leaf litter or among grasses and can also be found under stones and similar micro-habitats.
Predation: Loveridge (1920) recorded specimens in the stomachs of Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Battersby’s Green Snake (Philothamnus battersbyi) from Morogoro and Nairobi respectively.
|Etymology||Named after the type locality. Note that the original spelling is “Massaïensis” even though the species was named after the “Maasai” plains.|
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