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Parvoscincus decipiens (BOULENGER, 1895)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Black-sided Sphenomorphus 
SynonymLygosoma decipiens BOULENGER 1895: 734
Lygosoma (Homolepida) moellendorffi BOETTGER 1897: 162
Sphenomorphus curtirostris TAYLOR 1915: 101
Sphenomorphus curtirostris — TAYLOR 1922: 170
Sphenomorphus decipiens — TAYLOR 1922: 176
Sphenomorphus moellendorffi — TAYLOR 1922: 179
Sphenomorphus decipiens — TAYLOR 1923
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) decipiens — SMITH 1937: 220
Otosaurus curtirostris — SMITH 1937: 218
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) curtirostris — BROWN & ALCALA 1970: 113
Sphenomorphus decipiens — BROWN & ALCALA 1980: 186
Sphenomorphus decipiens — BROWN et al. 2000
Sphenomorphus decipiens — LINKEM et al. 2010
Parvoscincus decipiens — LINKEM, DIESMOS & BROWN 2011 
DistributionPhilippines (Luzon only, see comment); according to Linkem et al. (2013) “Sierra Madre Mountain Range of northeast Luzon in the Provinces of Isabela and Cagayan”

Type locality: Isabela Province, Luzon Island.  
Reproductionoviparous (phylogenetic imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.8.16.95–96 (formerly
Holotype: SMF 15457 [moellendorffi] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Parvoscincus decipiens can be diagnosed by the following combination of characters: (1) A small body size (SVL at maturity 35.02–40.62 mm); (2) MBSR = 30–34; (3) PV = 54–63; (4) dorsal scales non-striated without apical pits; (5) apical pits on hind limbs, variably present on forelimbs; (6) four enlarged supraoculars; (7) anterior loreal single; (8) three preoculars; (9) and 14–18 Toe IV SDL. (LINKEM & BROWN 2013)

Parvoscincus decipiens is the sister species to P. abstrusus sp. nov. and closely related to P. jimmymcguirei sp. nov., P. arvindiesmosi sp. nov., and P. agtorum sp. nov. (Fig. 2). Parvoscincus decipiens can be distinguished from P. jimmymcguirei sp. nov. by not having apical pits on the dorsum or forelimbs (vs. having apical pits on dorsum and forelimbs); by having white labials and throat (vs. dark brown mottling on labials and throat); having a thin dorsolateral band with a solid tan line dorsally (vs. broad dorsolateral band).
Parvoscincus decipiens can be distinguished from P. arvindiesmosi sp. nov. by having a wider rostrum (IND/ Rost > 0.50 vs. < 0.50); lacking apical pits on the dorsum and forelimbs (vs. apical pits present on forelimbs and dorsum); dorsum brown without dark brown spots laterally (vs. dark brown spots extending dorsally from the dorsolateral line); dorsolateral line thin and flanks light tan (vs. dorsolateral line broad, dark brown, and extending ventrally to mid-flank).
Parvoscincus decipiens can be distinguished from P. abstrusus sp. nov. by lacking apical pits on dorsum and forelimbs (vs. apical pits weak or absent on dorsum and present on forelimbs); having a single anterior loreal (vs. single or divided anterior loreal); males and females having white throat (vs. males with black throat and females with white throat); dorsolateral band thin with light tan line dorsally (vs. dorsolateral band thin, broken, and occasionally bordered by light tan dorsally).
Parvoscincus decipiens can be diagnosed from P. agtorum sp. nov. by the smaller body size (35.02–40.62 vs. 44.91 mm); fewer paravertebral scales (54–63 vs. 71); fewer midbody scale row scales (30–34 vs. 39); light-tan dorsal coloration (vs. dark brown dorsal coloration); by the absence of a brown incomplete gular collar; and by the absence of a white line between the eye and ear. (LINKEM & BROWN 2013)

Description of Sphenomorphus curtirostris: TAYLOR 1915: 101 
CommentSynonymy after BROWN & ALCALA 1980. Linkem & Brown 2013 have split up P. decipiens into 8 different species. Given the larger size of P. kitangladensis (SVL 50–60 mm) it is possible that P. kitangladensis is separate from P. curtirostris and that Mindanao specimens previously assigned to P. decipiens should be P. curtirostris and the name should be re-elevated from synonymy (Linkem et al. 2013). Linked photo below may be S. coxi.

Distribution: this species has been reported from other islands such as Mindanao, Tablas, Masbate, probably Leyte and Samar. However, they may be misidentifications.

Habitat. This species is found in mid-montane forest in leaf litter and under logs. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet was presumably derived, in the nominative case, from the Latin decipio, meaning “deceiving.” 
  • Beukema, W. 2011. Herpetofauna of disturbed forest fragments on the lower Mt. Kitanglad Rnage, Mindanao Isand, Philippines. Salamandra 47 (2): 90-98 - get paper here
  • Boettger, O. 1897. Neue Reptilien und Batrachier von den Philippinen. Zool. Anz. 20: 161-166. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1895. Second report on additions to the lizard collection in the Natural History Museum. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1894: 722-736 [published in April 1895 fide A. Bauer] - get paper here
  • Brown, R.M. et al. 2010. Species boundaries in Philippine montane forest skinks (Genus Sphenomorphus): three new species from the mountains of Luzon and clarification of the status of the poorly known S. beyeri, S. knollmanae, and S. laterimaculatus. Scient. Pap. Nat. Hist. Mus. Univ. Kansas (42): 1-27
  • Brown, R.M.; C.H. Oliveros; C.D. Siler; J.B. Fernandez; L.J. Welton; P.A.C. Buenavente; M.L.L. Diesmos; A.C. Diesmos 2012. Amphibians and Reptiles of Luzon Island (Philippines), VII: Herpetofauna of Ilocos Norte Province, Northern Cordillera Mountain Range. Check List 8(3):469-490 - get paper here
  • Brown, R.M.; McGuire, J.A.; Ferner,J.W.; Icarangal Jr., N. & Kennedy, R.S. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Luzon island, II: preliminary report on the herptofauna of Aurora Memorial national Park, Philippines. Hamadryad 25 (2): 175-195 - get paper here
  • Brown, Walter C.; Alcala, Angel C. 1970. The zoogeography of the herpetofauna of the Philippine Islands, a fringing archipelago. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 38 (6): 105-130 - get paper here
  • Brown, WC. & A.C. ALCALA 1980. Philippine Lizards of the family Scincidae. Silliman Univ. Nat. Sci., Dumaguete City, Mon., Ser. 2: i-xi + 1-246.
  • Brown,R.M. & Ferner,J.W. & Sison,R.V. 1995. Rediscovery and redescription of Sphenomorphus beyeri Taylor (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae) from the Zambales Mountains of Luzon, Philippines. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 108 (1): 6-17 - get paper here
  • Brown; Rafe; Cameron Siler, Carl Oliveros, Luke Welton, Ashley Rock, John Swab, Merlijn Van Weerd, Jonah van Beijnen, Dominic Rodriguez, Edmund Jose, Arvin Diesmos 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Luzon Island, Philippines, VIII: the herpetofauna of Cagayan and Isabela Provinces, northern Sierra Madre Mountain Range. ZooKeys 266 (2013) Special Issue: 1-120<br />doi: 10.3897/zookeys.266.3982 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Lagat, Ronaldo D. and Rubie M. Causaren 2019. Initial terrestrial vertebrate diversity assessment in upland Cavite, Philippines. Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology 12 (2): 70-91 - get paper here
  • Linkem, C.W.; Diesmos, A.C.; Brown, R.M. 2010. A NEW SPECIES OF SCINCID LIZARD (GENUS SPHENOMORPHUS) FROM PALAWAN ISLAND, PHILIPPINES. Herpetologica 66 (1): 67–79 - get paper here
  • Linkem, Charles W.; Arvin C. Diesmos, Rafe M. Brown 2011. Molecular systematics of the Philippine forest skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Sphenomorphus): testing morphological hypotheses of interspecific relationships. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: 1217–1243 - 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
  • MCLEOD, David S.; Cameron D. SILER, Arvin C. DIESMOS, Mae L. DIESMOS, Vhon S. GARCIA, Angela O. ARKONCEO, Kelvin L. BALAQUIT, Charlene C. UY, Mariden M. VILLASERAN, Earle C. YARRA, Rafe M. BROWN 2011. Amphibians and Reptiles of Luzon Island, V: The Herpetofauna of Angat Dam Watershed, Bulacan Province, Luzon Island, Philippines. Asian Herpetological Research 2 (4): 177–198 - get paper here
  • Meneses CG, Siler CD, Alviola PA, Gonzalez JCT, Balatibat JB, Natividad CA, Brown RM 2022. Amphibian and reptile diversity along a ridge-to-reef elevational gradient on a small isolated oceanic island of the central Philippines. Check List 18(5): 941-948 - get paper here
  • Mohagan, Alma B.; Olga M. Nuñeza, Angel C. Alcala, Jose A. Escarlos Jr., Arturo G. Gracia Jr., Eric Claire T. Selpa, Leonil Jun B. Baguhin, Fulgent P. Coritico & Victor B. Amoroso 2019. Species richness and endemism of Reptilian Fauna in four Long-Term Ecological Research sites in Mindanao, Philippines. Biodiversity Journal, 2019, 10 (3): 237–248 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D. and Rafe M. Brown 2010. Phylogeny-based Species Delimitation in Philippine Slender Skinks (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae: Brachymeles): Taxonomic Revision of Pentadactyl Species Groups and Description of Three New Species. Herpetological Monographs 24 (1): 1-54 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Stejneger,L. 1908. Three new species of lizards from the Philippine Islands. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 34: 199-204 - get paper here
  • Taylor, E. H. 1923. Additions to the herpetological fauna of the Philippine Islands, III. Philippine Journal of Science, 22: 515—557 - get paper here
  • Taylor, E.H. 1915. New species of Philippine lizards. Philippine Journal of Science. 10: 89-109 - get paper here
  • Taylor, E.H. 1922. The lizards of the Philippine Islands. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bureau of Science, Government of the Philippine Islands, Manila, Publication no. 17: 269 pp. - 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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