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Panaspis tancredii (BOULENGER, 1909)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Ethiopian Snake-Eyed Skink 
SynonymAblepharus tancredi BOULENGER 1909
Ablepharus anselli FITZSIMONS 1955 (fide FUHN 1964 but see comment)
Afroablepharus tancredi — GREER 1974
Panaspis tancredii — BROADLEY 1998
Panaspis tancredi — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 407
Panaspis tancredii — CHAPPLE et al. 2021 

Type locality: Dabarif (? = Dabarik or Debarek, 13°08’N 37°55’E) [Ethiopia]

anselli: Zambia; Type locality: “Kabomoo, Northern Rhodesia” [= Zambia]  
TypesHolotype: MSNG 27780 (presumed lost fide Colston et al. 2020)
Holotype: National Museum of Southern Rhodesia 430 [anselli] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (anselli): This new species falls into the group of Ablepharus species
with paired fronto-parietals, but is readily distinguíshed from the other African species ol this group (aeneus Cope, from Angola: cabindae Bocage, from Cabinda, W Africa; and megalurus Nieden, from Tanganyika Territory) by the following combination of characters: pre-frontals in contact and widely separating frontonasal from frontaI; two supraoculars and four supraciliaries; twenty-two scales round middle of body (from Fitzsimons 1955: 763). 
CommentSynonymy: Not listed in the Zoological Record of 1909. Broadley (1989) suggested to include Afroblepharus seydeli in the synonymy of A. tancredii. BROADLEY (2001, pers. comm.) also suggested to include Ablepharus anselli FITZSIMONS 1955 in the synonymy of A. seydeli; according to him “it seems likely that P. tancredii is endemic to Ethiopia and A. anselli and A. moeruensis de Witte 1933 are synonyms of P. seydeli”). However, anselli is apparently different from tancredi and should be removed from its synonymy but it’s status and relationships remain unclear (A. Bauer, pers. comm., via S. Meiri, 28 Mar 2020).

This species is known from only one specimen of unclear origin (LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010).

Distribution: Broadley 1998 reported P. tancredi from S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) and Jackson and Blackburn 2010 reported it from the Republic of the Congo; this seems to be by mistake if Largen & Spawls 2010 are correct in that there is only one known specimen (from Ethiopia).

Etymology: A. anselli has been named after Mr Ansell “of the Northern Rhodesia Game and Tsetse Control Department” near whose house the type was collected. 
EtymologyNamed after Captain Alfonso Mario Tancredi (d. 1942), Italian explorer in East Africa (1899-1908). 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George Albert 1909. On the reptiles and batrachians collected by the Tancredi Expedition to Lake Tsana, Abyssinia. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova Serie 3, 4: 193 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D G 1989. A reappraisal of the genus Panaspis Cope, with the description of a new species of Leptosiaphos (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Tanzania. Arnoldia Zimbabwe 9 (32) 1989: 439-449
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. The reptilian fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In: Schmidt, K.P. and Noble, G.K., Contributions to the Herpetology of the Belgian Congo... [reprint of the 1919 and 1923 papers]. SSAR Facsimile reprints in Herpetology, 780 pp.
  • Chapple, David G; Roll, Uri; Böhm, Monika; Aguilar, Rocío Amey, Andrew P Austin, Chris C Baling, Marleen Barley, Anthony J Bates, Michael F Bauer, Aaron M Blackburn, Daniel G Bowles, Phil Brown, Rafe M Chandramouli, S R Chirio, Laurent Cogger, Hal Co 2021. Conservation Status of the World’s Skinks (Scincidae): Taxonomic and Geographic Patterns in Extinction Risk. Biological Conservation 257: 109101 - get paper here
  • COLSTON, TIMOTHY J.; R. ALEXANDER PYRON, AARON M. BAUER 2020. A new species of African Snake-Eyed Skink (Scincidae: Panaspis) from Ethiopia. Zootaxa 4779 (2): 190–200 - get paper here
  • Fitzsimons, V. 1955. A new skink from northern Rhodesia. Occ. Pap, natn. Mus. S. Rhod, 2 (20):<br />763-764
  • Fuhn, I. E. 1964. Ablepharus anselli FITZSIMONS 1955, synonyme d’Ablepharus tancredii Boulenger 1909. Doriana 3 (150): 1-3
  • 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
  • Jacobson, N. H. G. & D. G. BROADLEY 2000. A new species of Panaspis COPE (Reptilia: Scincidae) from southern Africa. African Journal of Herpetology 49 (1): 61-71 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2006. Lizards of Ethiopia (Reptilia Sauria): an annotated checklist, bibliography, gazetteer and identification. Tropical Zoology 19 (1): 21-109 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • 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
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