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Parvoscincus aurorus LINKEM & BROWN, 2013

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymParvoscincus aurorus LINKEM & BROWN 2013
Sphenomorphus decipiens — BROWN & ALCALA 1980: 186 (part) 
DistributionPhilippines (Luzon, Aurora Province: at 540 m elevation at Barangay Lipimiental and at 915 m elevation on Mt. Dayap)

Type locality: Aurora Province, Municipality Maria Aurora, Barangay Villa Aurora, Mt. Dayap, coordinates 15.660° N, 121.327° E, elevation 915 m.  
Reproductionoviparous (phylogenetic imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: PNM 9786 (formerly KU 323324, A. C. Diesmos Field No. 4859): Female, Collected by A. C. Diesmos. Paratypes. Same locality as holotype: KU 323323 Male; KU 323309, KU 323320–22 Females. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. can be identified by the following combination of characters: (1) A small body size (SVL at maturity 39.5–46.6 mm); (2) MBSR = 31–35; (3) PV = 65–75; (4) dorsal scales non- striated without apical pits; (5) apical pits on hind limbs, none on forelimbs; (6) four enlarged supraoculars; (7) anterior loreal single; (8) three preoculars; (9) and 15–17 Toe IV SDL.
Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. is most closely related to P. banahaoensis and P. palaliensis (Fig. 2), and these three species are related to other high elevation Parvoscincus species (P. boyingi, P. laterimaculatus, P. igorotorum, P. beyeri, and P. hadros). Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. can be distinguished from P. boyingi, P. laterimaculatus, P. igorotorum, P. beyeri, and P. hadros by being generally smaller (SVL 39.55–46.64 vs. 42–86.7 mm) and having fewer PV (< 88) than all species but only slightly fewer than P. laterimaculatus (Table 1).
Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. can be distinguished from P. banahaoensis sp. nov. by having more PV scales (65–75 vs. 62–66); more midbody scale rows (31–35 vs. 28–32); by having flanks brown with white spots (vs. white flanks); dorsolateral band irregular dorsally with half circles of dorsal color interrupting the dark brown band (vs. dorsolateral band bordered dorsally by straight light line).
Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. and P. palaliensis sp. nov. are most similar morphologically with overlapping scale counts (Tables 1, 2). Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. has a slightly higher profile head (3.8–4.5 mm vs. 3.44 mm) and longer head–forelimb length (14.3–16.45 vs. 13.4). Coloration is very similar, though the pattern of the dorsolateral band is different on the dorsal margin. Parvoscincus aurorus sp. nov. has a dark brown dorsolateral band broken up dorsally by half circles of dorsal coloration (Fig. 5 O, P) whereas Parvoscincus palaliensis sp. nov. has a dark brown dorsolateral band broken dorsally by inverted “hook” or “claw” shaped marks of the dorsal color (Fig. 5 M, N).
CommentHabitat. This species is found at mid- to high elevation in Aurora Province, central Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The species was found in leaf litter and under logs in the forested regions. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Latin formation of the noun Aurora in nominative (subject) case, in reference to Aurora Province (where all known localities of the new species are found) and Maria Aurora Memorial National Park which protects much of the habitat of this distinctive species. 
  • Gojo-Cruz, Paul Henric P. and Leticia E. Afuang 2018. The Zoogeographic Significance of Caraballo Mountain Range, Luzon Island, Philippines With Focus on the Biogeography of Luzon’s Herpetofauna. Philippine Journal of Science 147 (3): 393-409 - get paper here
  • GOJO-CRUZ, Paul Henric P.; Leticia E. AFUANG, Juan Carlos T. GONZALEZ and William SM. GRUEZO 2018. Amphibians and Reptiles of Luzon Island, Philippines: the Herpetofauna of Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed, Nueva Ecija Province, Caraballo Mountain Range. Asian Herpetological Research 9(4): 201–223 - get paper here
  • LINKEM, CHARLES W.; RAFE M. BROWN 2013. Systematic revision of the Parvoscincus decipiens (Boulenger, 1894) complex of Philippine forest skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Lygosominae) with descriptions of seven new species. Zootaxa 3700 (4): 501–533 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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