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Pedioplanis mayeri CHILDERS, KIRCHHOF & BAUER, 2021

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymPedioplanis mayeri CHILDERS, KIRCHHOF & BAUER 2021
 
DistributionN Namibia (south of the Kunene River and east of the Namib Desert along the eastern side of the escarpment, thence throughout the eastern Kunene Region, entering the northeastern parts of the Erongo Region and east through the Otjozondjupa Region, reaching at least as far east as Oshikango (TM17028) in the north, Gobabis (Omaheke Region) in the south-east, and Nauchas in the south)

Type locality: Namibia, Erongo Region, Omaruru District, at Farm Omandumba, ca. 1 km W of house (-21.49786, 15.62630, 1238 m above sea level (a.s.l.)  
Reproductionoviparous; Breeding season appears to be in spring, similar to other southern African Pedioplanis spp. Gravid females with up to four eggs were found in December and February, and small juveniles (SVL = 27 mm) appeared in mid-February (Kirchhof et al. 2014). 
TypesHolotype: MCZ-R193179 Adult female, (field number MCZ-A28704) collected 15 June 2014 by Jackie L. Childers, Aaron M. Bauer, William R. Branch, Matthew Heinicke and Johan Marais.
Paratypes: three female: CAS 214643, MCZ-R185872, ZMB 89349; five males: CAS 214645, MCZ-R185870, MCZ-R190213, MCZ-R193125, ZMB 89350 collected from various localities in the Kunene Region of northern Namibia; CAS 214643; 59 km W of Kamanjab (-19.64871, 14.33984, 1163 m a.s.l.); collected 1 June 2000 by Aaron M. Bauer • CAS 214645; same collection data as for proceeding; MCZ-R185870; 35 km S of Epupa Falls on Okangwati Rd. (-17.26083, 13.21194, 1035 m a.s.l.); collected 14 August 2007 by Aaron M. Bauer, Johan Marais, Ross A. Sadlier, and Stuart V. Nielsen; MCZ-R185872; N Okangwati on Epupa Falls Rd. (-17.40361, 13.15861, 1140 m a.s.l.); collected 14 August 2007 by Aaron M. Bauer, Johan Marais, Ross A. Sadlier, and Stuart V. Nielsen; MCZ-R190213; ca. 4 km from Swartbooisdrif towards Epembe (-17.38136, 13.82955, 836 m a.s.l.); collected 27 November 2011 by Aaron M. Bauer; MCZ-R193125; collected at the type locality on 13 June 2014; ZMB 89349; subadult female; along the C35 road, ca. 2 km N of Fransfontein (-20.19976, 15.01453, 1097 m a.s.l.); collected 15 August 2014 by Sebastian Kirchhof • ZMB 89350; along the C43 road, 29 km N of Palmwag (-19.62736, 13.87391, 1124 m a.s.l.); collected 15 August 2014 by Sebastian Kirchhof. Elevation data for the holotype and paratypes was obtained using the GPS or, if not available, from Google Earth (earth. google.com) using georeferenced GPS coordinates from the collecting localities. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Distinguished from P. lineoocellata, P. laticeps and P. burchelli by having 10 longitudinal ventral scale rows (vs. 12 or more). It is distinct from P. gaerdesi, P. benguelensis, P. husabensis, P. namaquensis and P. breviceps in possessing a semi-transparent lower eyelid with a brille formed by 2–4 enlarged scales (brille formed by a single scale in P. benguelensis and P. gaerdesi, lower eyelid with eight opaque scales in P. husabensis and opaque and scaly in P. breviceps and P. namaquensis). Dorsal patterning is characterized by the presence of five, usually bold dark brown to black, straight-edged dorsal stripes, distinguishing it from P. rubens (dorsum and tail uniform red-brown to brick red, lacking conspicuous markings with only a hint of a slightly brighter dorso-lateral line on each side), P. inornata, P. gaerdesi and P. branchi sp. nov. (dorsum may be light to dark gray becoming gradually more reddish towards the tail, possessing dark and/or light beige-yellowish speckling but lacking distinct longitudinal elements), P. haackei (only three dark dorsal stripes), and P. undata (dorsal striping bold or not, may be reduced with pale longitudinal elements or even a single middorsal stripe restricted to the nape). It is further distinguished from P. haackei by typically having a smaller number of granules anterior to the first supraocular (9–16 vs. 12–32), from P. huntleyi in having a larger number of granules anterior to the first supraocular (9–16 vs. 7–13), and from P. undata in possessing a greater maximum number of granular scales anterior to the supraoculars (9–16 in P. mayeri sp. nov. versus 8–13 in P. undata), and a greater maximum number of femoral pores on a single leg (12–16 in P. mayeri sp. nov. versus 11–14 in P. undata). Pedioplanis mayeri is similar in most characteristics to P. huntleyi, which is restricted to Angola, but the latter species is typified by the restriction of the five dark dorsal stripes to the anterior half of the trunk, a condition found in only some P. mayeri. No single morphological character unambiguously distinguishes the allopatric species P. mayeri, P. undata and P. huntleyi. We therefore provide several diagnostic characters based on the mitochondrial gene ND2 in order to supplement the morphological data. Pedioplanis mayeri may be distinguished from all other Pedioplanis species in being characterized by having the amino acid histidine instead of a tyrosine at base pair 61 due to a codon change at that position. It also has the amino acid phenylalanine at base pair 223, instead of a threonine (P. benguelensis, P. breviceps, P. haackei, P. huntleyi, P. husabensis, P. laticeps, P. lineoocellata, P. namaquensis), an alanine (P. burchelli), or a serine (P. branchi sp. nov., P. gaerdesi, P. inornata, P. rubens, P. undata) due to a codon change at that position. Finally, it has the amino acid threonine due to a codon change at base pair 568, instead of a leucine (P. rubens), a valine (P. haackei, P. laticeps, P. undata), or an isoleucine (P. benguelensis, P. branchi sp. nov., P. breviceps, P. burchelli, P. gaerdesi, P. husabensis, P. namaquensis); P. inornata and P. lineoocellata are polymorphic with individuals possessing either valine or isoleucine, and it is unknown what the molecular character state is for P. huntleyi at this position (Childers et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal coloration and pattern varied considerably across examined specimens. Dorsum of head gray-tan, sometimes possessing dark speckles of varying size; dorsum usually bearing three bold black, medium-brown or gray stripes bordered on each side by white stripes; dorsal stripes often terminate at the tail base or begin to fade into a gray and reddish hue midway towards the tail base; dorsal stripes may be absent entirely, with individuals possessing a uniformly gray dorsum, sometimes with dark speckling. All individuals examined possess yellow-centered ocelli or yellow spots along the flanks, usually bordered ventrally by a white stripe and dorsally by a black stripe (or with the dark rims of the ocelli confluent with such a stripe); lateral spots or ocelli vary in size from ca. 0.5 to 1.0 mm in diameter, in some cases smaller spots may merge with the white ventral stripe; anterior surface of the thighs and outermost ventral plates sometimes tinged or speckled with orange; limbs and feet more or less uniformly grayish (front), reddish-brown to brown, or speckled with light or black dots or blotches that may form bars; tail usually bright brick or orange-red, in some cases dark speckling may be present on the dorsal surface of the tail. (Childers et al. 2021).
 
CommentDistribution: P. mayeri does not enter the Kalahari dune fields, and is possibly absent from the Khomas Hochland, where it is replaced by P. undata. See Fig. 6 in Childers et al. 2021 for map of locality records.

Synonymy: the individuals referred to P. undata in Kirchhof et al. 2014 are now P. mayeri.

Sympatry: ground-living diurnal lizards include Trachylepis damarana, Meroles squamulosus, Heliobolus lugubris, Gerrhosaurus flavigularis, and Agama anchietae, among others.

Conservation: The species occurs across a wide area of Namibia in which potential threats from agriculture and mining are scattered and localized. Local populations occur in protected areas within Etosha National Park and Waterberg Plateau Park as well as in many local conservancies. Applying IUCN criteria, we consider P. mayeri to be Least Concern. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym formed in the genitive singular honoring our friend and colleague, the Austrian lacertid specialist Werner Mayer (1943–2015), who first recognized the distinctiveness of his namesake species and whose contributions to the study of Pedioplanis have been seminal. 
References
  • Childers JL, Kirchhof S, Bauer AM 2021. Lizards of a different stripe: phylogenetics of the Pedioplanis undata species complex (Squamata, Lacertidae), with the description of two new species. Zoosystematics and Evolution 97(1): 249-272 - get paper here
 
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