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Pholidoscelis major (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1839)

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Higher TaxaTeiidae, Teiinae, Gymnophthalmoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Guadeloupean Giant Groundlizard, Martinique Ameiva 
SynonymAmeiva major DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 117
Ameiva major — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 196
Ameiva major — HARVEY et al. 2012
Pholidoscelis major — GOICOECHEA et al. 2016 
DistributionLesser Antilles: Martinique

Type locality: "Cayenne" (probably in error) and "Trinité" (probably town of Trinité, Martinique).  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 1491 from "Trinité," designated by Baskin and Williams, 1966 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Pholidoscelis can be distinguished from all other Teiinae except Ameiva by a combination of the following morphological characters (Harvey et al. 2012): first supraciliary short, third or fourth supraciliary usually elongate (except in Pholidoscelis wetmorei), five regular parietals (except in Pholidoscelis wetmorei), the prefrontal separated from the nasal, numerous small scales at the heel (except in Pholidoscelis lineolatus, Pholidoscelis maynardii, and Pholidoscelis wetmorei, the Ameiva lineolata Series of Harvey et al. 2012), homogenous manual subdigital lamellae, smooth ventrals and subcaudals, and males lacking preanal spurs. Pholidoscelis can be distinguished from Ameiva by molecular characters (e.g., Tucker et al. 2016a, 2016b, 2016c, 2017 and references therein; see also Phylogenetic Relationships) and by the following morphological characters (Harvey et al. 2012): the narial suture positioned behind the nostril (passing through the nostril or located in front of it in Ameiva), the first subocular usually in contact with the supralabials (first subocular usually separated from the supralabials), a long fifth toe except in some Pholidoscelis griswoldi (reduced), and supradigital and subdigital lamellae usually in contact along the postaxial margin of the toes except in Pholidoscelis fuscatus (separated) (R. Powell, pers. comm. 16 Feb 2021). 
CommentConservation: Now extinct fide SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991 (and not listed in SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988). Bochaton et al. described another new (subfossil) Pholidoscelis from Guadeloupe, Pholidoscelis turukaeraensis, which is also extinct but apparently similar to P. major.

Synonymy: Listed as synonym of Ameiva punctata by BOULENGER 1885: 359

Type species: Ameiva major DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 117 is the type species of the genus Pholidoscelis FITZINGER 1843: 20.

Pholidoscelis was resurrected by GOICOECHEA et al. 2016. Note, however, that Pholidoscelis was originally erected for Ameiva major (by Fitzinger, 1843), a taxon that has was not included by GOICOECHEA et al. 2016, as it is presumed to be extinct. 
EtymologyNamed after its size or dominant role within the genus or locality.

The genus was named after the Greek “pholis” = scale and the ending –scelis, derived from skelos (Latin transliteration of the Greek skelos), which means legs. In this case, the genus name is a Latinized compound adjective, but treated as singular nouns in the nominative because it is a genus. As such, the ending –scelis denotes either masculine or feminine gender (Steyskal, 1971). According to ICZN (1999) Article ‘‘a genus-group name that is or ends in a word of common or variable gender (masculine or feminine) is to be treated as masculine unless its author, when establishing the name, stated that it is feminine or treated it as feminine in combination with an adjectival species-group name.” Hence, the genus Pholidoscelis is masculine (after Tucker et al. 2016). 
  • Baskin, J. N. and E. E. Williams. 1966. The Lesser Antillean Ameiva (Sauria,Teiidae). Re-evaluation, zoogeography, and the effects of predation. Studies Fauna Curacao Carib. Isl. 23: 144-176. - get paper here
  • Bochaton, Corentin; Renaud Boistel, Sandrine Grouard, Ivan Ineich, Anne Tresset & Salvador Bailon 2017. Evolution, diversity and interactions with past human populations of recently extinct Pholidoscelis lizards (Squamata: Teiidae) from the Guadeloupe Islands (French West-Indies). Historical Biology, DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2017.1343824 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Fitzinger, L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel, Wien: 106 pp. - get paper here
  • Goicoechea, N., Frost, D. R., De la Riva, I., Pellegrino, K. C. M., Sites, J., Rodrigues, M. T. and Padial, J. M. 2016. Molecular systematics of teioid lizards (Teioidea/Gymnophthalmoidea: Squamata) based on the analysis of 48 loci under tree-alignment and similarity-alignment. Cladistics, doi: 10.1111/cla.12150 - get paper here
  • HARVEY, MICHAEL B.; GABRIEL N. UGUETO & RONALD L. GUTBERLET, Jr. 2012. Review of Teiid Morphology with a Revised Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Teiidae (Lepidosauria: Squamata). Zootaxa 3459: 1–156 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Steyskal, G.C. 1971. On the grammar of names formed with -scelus, -sceles, -scelis, etc. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 84: 7–12
  • Tucker, Derek B.; Guarino R. Colli, Lilian G. Giugliano, S. Blair Hedges, Catriona R. Hendry, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, Alan R. Lemmon, Jack W. Sites Jr., R. Alexander Pyron 2016. Methodological congruence in phylogenomic analyses with morphological support for teiid lizards (Sauria: Teiidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 103: 75-84 - get paper here
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