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Panaspis namibiana CERÍACO, BRANCH & BAUER, 2018

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Namibian Snake-Eyed Skink
G: Namibia-Schlangenaugenskink 
SynonymPanaspis namibiana CERÍACO, BRANCH & BAUER 2018
Ablepharus wahlbergi — LAWRENCE 1929: 26
Ablepharus wahlbergii — FITZSIMONS 1943: 236
Ablepharus wahlbergii — MERTENS 1955: 74, pl. 23, fig. 143
Ablepharus wahlbergii — MERTENS 1971: 64
Panaspis (Afroablepharus) wahlbergi — VISSER 1984: 59
Panaspis wahlbergii — BRANCH 1988: 134
Panaspis wahlbergii — BAUER et al. 1993: 134
Panaspis wahlbergii — BRANCH 1994: 134
Panaspis wahlbergii — BRANCH 1998: 159
Panaspis sp. nov. — GRIFFIN 2003: 60
Afroblepharus wahlbergi — HERRMANN & BRANCH 2013: 29
Afroablepharus sp. Namibia — MEDINA et al. 2016: 411
Panaspis aff. namibiana — BUTLER et al. 2019 
DistributionC/N Namibia

Type locality: adjacent to Opuwo Road (D3704), 21 km N of Palmweg/Sesfontein Road (D3706) (18.9628333° S, 13.758666° E; WGS-84), Kunene Region, Republic of Namibia  
TypesHolotype. CAS 206967, unsexed subadult, collected by Aaron M. Bauer, A. C. Lamb, J.L. Wright, P. Moler, W.R. Branch and R.D. Babb on 25 July 1998 (Fig. 1). Paratypes. Ten specimens, all from the Republic of Namibia: MCZ R183767, unsexed subadult, Sesfontein, Paracamp, Kunene Region (19.13222222° S, 13.5877777° E; WGS-84), collected by Aaron M. Bauer and Anthony P. Russell on 11 December 2002; MCZ R190318, unsexed subadult, Kamanjab Rest Camp, Kunene Region (19.629611° S, 14.682417° E; WGS-84) collected by Aaron M. Bauer on 29 November 2011; CM 130371 (Fig. 2), unsexed adult, 80 air km E Sesfontein, 60 Air km WNW Kamanjab, Kunene Region (19.332654° S, 14.369919° E; WGS-84), collected by Paul Freed et al. on 3 April 1992 (Fig. 4); LACM 77840, unsexed adult, 40 km WNW Grootfontein, Otjozondjupa Region (19.48333° S, 17.73333° E; WGS-84), collected by R.L. Bezy on 20 November 1973; LACM 77841, 77842, unsexed adults, same collecting data as LACM 77840; PEM R2123, unsexed adult, Kaoko Otavi, Kunene Region (18.3° S, 13.7° E; WGS-84), collected by G. Mclachlan and J. Spence on 14 October 1965; PEM 2124, unsexed subadult, same collecting data as PEM R2123; PEM R10262, unsexed adult, Okahandja, Otjozondjupa Region (21.983333° S, 16.916667° E; WGS-84), collected by R. Bradfield on 23 April 1929; PEM R10273, unsexed adult, same collecting data as PEM R10262. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Panaspis namibiana sp. nov. can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characteristics: 1) absence of supranasals; 2) ablepharine eye (as defined by Greer 1974); 3) frontoparietals fused; 4) dorsum coppery-brown, with a dorsolateral light stripe extending approximately to midbody, and a thin darker band starting on the temporals and extending to midbody; 5) absence of rows of light spots on the neck; 6) absence of a white ventrolateral stripe.

Comparison with other South and Southwestern African Panaspis. As the molecular framework of Medina et al. (2016) provided evidence of the independence of the P. namibiana lineage from all other taxa, we here restrict our morphological comparisons to those named congeners occurring in Namibia, Angola, Botswana and South Africa. The extreme morphological conservatism of Panaspis limits diagnostic characters for most species (except P. cabindae) to subtle features, chiefly related to coloration pattern. Comparing P. namibiana sp. nov. with P. cabindae, the newly described species can be easily distinguished by not having supranasals (present in P. cabindae), by having a ablepharine eye (preablepharine eye in P. cabindae), and by having the frontoparietals fused (divided in P. cabindae). In comparison with P. wahlbergi, P. namibiana sp. nov. can be distinguished by its coloration, namely by the lack of the broad black lateral stripe and bordering ventrolateral white stripe extending from the supralabials through the ear to the groin (males) or terminating behind the shoulder (females). Panaspis namibiana sp. nov. can be distinguished from nominotypical P. maculicollis on the basis of the lack of black patch extending from ear to just beyond the shoulder with two or three vertical or diagonal rows of white spots. 
CommentDistribution: see map in Ceríaco et al. 2018: 145 (Fig. 3). Populations from Angola have been assigned to Panaspis mocamedensis. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “namibiana” refers to the Republic of Namibia, to which the species is apparently endemic, and is applied here as a substantive in apposition. 
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Branch, William R. & Haacke, Wulf D. 1993. The herpetofauna of the Kamanjab area and adjacent Damaraland, Namibia. Madoqua (Windhoek) 18 (2): 117-145.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 3rd ed. Fully Revised and Updated to Include 83 New Species. Ralph Curtis Books (Sanibel Island, Florida), 399 pp.
  • Branch, W.R. 1994. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 2nd Edition. Struik, Cape Town, 327 pp
  • Branch,W.R. 1988. Field Guide to the snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 328 pp.
  • Butler, B O; Ceríaco, L M P; Marques, M P; Bandeira, S; Júlio, T; Heinicke, M P & Bauer, A M; 2019. Herpetological survey of Huíla Province, Southwest Angola, including first records of Bicuar National Park. Herpetological Review 50 (2): 225-240 - get paper here
  • CERÍACO, LUIS M. P.; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, AARON M. BAUER 2018. A new species of African snake-eyed skink (Scincidae: Panaspis) from central and northern Namibia. Zootaxa 4527 (1): 140-150 - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • GRIFFIN, M. 2003. Annotated Checklist and Provisional National Conservation Status of Namibian Reptiles. Namibia Scientific Society, Windhoek. [2] + 169 pp.
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Lawrence, R.F. 1929. The reptiles of S.W.A. Journal of the South West Africa Scientific Society, 2, 13–27
  • Medina, Maria F.; Aaron M. Bauer, William R. Branch, Andreas Schmitz, Werner Conradie, Zoltan T. Nagy, Toby J. Hibbitts, Raffael Ernst, Daniel M. Portik, Stuart V. Nielsen, Timothy J. Colston, Chifundera Kusamba, Mathias Behangana, Mark-Oliver Rödel, 2016. Molecular phylogeny of Panaspis and Afroablepharus skinks (Squamata: Scincidae) in the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 100: 409–423, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.04.026 - get paper here
  • Mertens, R. 1971. Die Herpetofauna Südwest-Afrikas. Senck. Naturf. Gesell., Frankfurt am Main, Abhandl. 529: 110 pp.
  • Mertens,R. 1955. Die Amphibien und Reptilien Südwestafrikas. Aus den Ergebnissen einer im Jahre 1952 ausgeführten Reise. Abh. senckenb. naturf. Ges. (Frankfurt) 490: 1-172 - get paper here
  • Visser, J. 1984. Gladde akkedisse. Magiese ‘springslang’ maar net ‘n woelige akkedis! Landbouweekblad, 12 Oktober 1984, 58–59, 61
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