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Phrynocephalus versicolor STRAUCH, 1876

IUCN Red List - Phrynocephalus versicolor - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Agaminae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPhrynocephalus versicolor doriai BEDRIAGA 1909
Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki BEDRIAGA 1909
Phrynocephalus versicolor versicolor STRAUCH 1876 
Common NamesE: Tuvan Toad-headed Agama
Russian: Пестрая круглоголовка
Chinese: 变色沙蜥 
SynonymPhrynocephalus versicolor STRAUCH 1876: 18
Phrynocephalus versicolor — BOULENGER 1885: 374
Phrynocephalus guentheri BEDRIAGA 1906: 168
Phrynocephalus blanfordi BEDRIAGA 1907
Phrynocephalus ciliaris BEDRIAGA 1907
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. Doriai BEDRIAGA 1909: 332
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. Bogdanowi BEDRIAGA 1909: 334
Phrynocephalus helioscopus var. levis KASHTCHENKO 1909: 122
Phrynocephalus Potanini BEDRIAGA 1909: 389
Phrynocephalus pewzowi
Phrynocephalus versicolor versicolor — NIKOLSKY 1915: 188
Phrynocephalus versicolor doriai — NIKOLSKY 1915: 190
Phrynocephalus versicolor bogdanowi — NIKOLSKY 1915: 191
Phrynocephalus rostralis ZAREVSKY 1930
Phrynocephalus parvulus ZAREVSKY 1927 (fide POPE 1935)
Phrynocephalus stejnegeri BANNIKOV 1958: 78 (nomen nudum)
Phrynocephalus versicolor — WERMUTH 1967: 89
Phrynocephalus immaculatus ZHAO 1995: 47
Phrynocephalus versicolor — WANG et al. 2003
Phrynocephalus (Phrynocephalus) versicolor versicolor — BARABANOV & ANANJEVA 2007
Phrynocephalus immaculatus — ANANJEVA 2011
Phrynocephalus versicolor — DUNAYEV et al. 2021

Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki BEDRIAGA 1909
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. siebenrocki BEDRIAGA 1909: 232
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. Siebenrocki — BEDRIAGA 1909: 333
Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki — NIKOLSKY 1915: 191
Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki — MILTO & BARABANOV 2012: 165 
DistributionW China (Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Nei Mongol = Inner Mongolia), (Siberia), SE Russia (Tuva), Mongolia

doriai: Chian (Zinjiang); Terra typica restricta: "See Ebi-nor" [= Ebinur Lake, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China].

Type locality: Alashan Desert, N China  
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesLectotype: ZISP 3929.1 (designated by Peters, 1984: 36),
Lectotype: ZISP 5117.1 (designated by Peters, 1984). “See Ebinor” [Ebinur lake, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China]. Leg: N. M. Przewalsky, 1878; however, Barabanov & Ananjeva 2007: 20 state that there is no type [doriai]
Holotype: ZISP 5156, “zwischen Metschin-Ola und der Stadt Barkul” [between Mieh-Ch’eng-O-La Shan (about 30 km northeast of Barkol) and Barkol, approx. 43°55’ N 93°00 E, Barkol county, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China]. Leg: G. N. Potanin, 1878 [siebenrocki] 
DiagnosisPholidosis. 18 – 30 scales across cap; 2 – 3 internasals (individually — 4); 9 – 13 supraciliars; 8 – 14 scales between parietal and supranasals; 10 – 17 supraand infralabials on each side of the head; 3 – 4 (rarely 5) rows of infraorbitals; 42 – 49 rows of granulars on throat; 21 – 27 scales on outside of fourth finger of hindlimb (Dunayev et al. 2021).

Color in life. Dorsum of body grey (usually the color of substrate on which the lizard lives), but can be smoky (fumosus), mouse-gray (murinus), bluish-gray (cyaneogriseus), ash-gray (atro-cinereus), dark sandy (atro-arenicolor), leathery-brown (alutaceus) or pale reddish-brown (rubro-argillaceus) in gravelly desert to beige-sandy (arenicolor), Isabel (isabellinus), terracotta (testaceus), marble-rose (marmoreo-roseum), dark incarnate (intense incarnatus), or corpulent-pink (incarnate-roseus) in sandy deserts. Dorsal patterns of these substrate races differ by the number of dark transversal bands (Fig. 2). Gravel form has either two black (niger, ater) or blackish (nigricans, atratus) pairs of bands (above scapulas and in front of thighs) or no bands. Sandy race has three pairs of brown (cinnamomeus), dark sandy (atro-arenicolor), salmon (salmoneus), pale brown (argillaceus), brownish (fuscatus, fumanus), brownish-yellowish (fulvidus), leather-brown (alutaceus), reddish (rufescens, fulvus), terracotta (testaceus), or Isabel (isabellinus) of bands; central pair is usually smaller and is occasionally substituted by small spots. Bands in the sandy race are black, often with intermittent edging of different thickness, which thickens and often turns into dark (black, blackish) transversal spots (oblique strips) on the dorsum of pelvic region, tail and limbs. Up to 7 – 9 bands on dorsum of the tail. Bands are largest in proximal part and usually have a narrowing or white stripe in center. Anterior (suprascapular) and posterior (in front of hips) bands often merge together along sides of body in both races. Edges in the sandy form fringed with whitish (albidus) or whitish-gray (canescens) elongated spots, occasionally with gray, often intermittent, edging. Individual black scales and white, elongated and often curved spots are scattered on the back (especially in individuals of sandy race). In the axillary region, there is a pink-violet (roseolo-violaceus), reddish-brown (fuscato-rubidus), rusty (ferrugineus), or orange-red (aurantius) spot with framing ranging from cornflower blue (cyaneus), dark azure (atro-cyaneus), or pale blue (pallido-caeruleus) to intensely blue (caeruleus) along the inner edge. A smaller spot of blue shade occurs above the groin area (especially in gravelly substrate race). When preserved, spots become pinkish-yellow, and frame is completely discolored. Between the fore and hind limbs, an unclear light band or a series of whitish spots with a dark thin edging occurs. The contrasting border between lateral and abdominal surfaces is wavy because of the white spots. Throat, belly and ventral surface of limbs monochromatic white, but occasionally throat and chest are slightly darker. Ventral surface of tail of young specimens white, with an average of five coalblack transverse bands (widest bands usually located distally; broken-up and obliquely oriented bands occur proximally). White gaps occur between bands. Cloacal region of immature individuals pale lemon yellow (pallido-citrinus), distal end of tail black. Yellowness in the cloacal region disappears with age; contrast and number of dark transverse bands on ventral surface of tail decreases to 3 – 4 (posterior-most band remains most pronounced, but occasionally almost invisible). Juvenile’s type of coloring of ventral surface of tail persists longer in females (Fig. 4A) (Dunayev et al. 2021). 
CommentGolubev (1993) gives a description of P. v. hispida and P. v. doriai.

Subspecies: Wang & Fu (2004) suggested to apply the name P. versicolor only to the populations in the northwestern part of its distribution area. Populations from Tengger Desert, Ordos highland, and further east include P. frontalis, P. przewalskii, and P. versicolor and should be called P. przewalskii. Some populations may contain a new species that remains to be described. Guo & Wang (2007) recognized populations in Kuytun, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as P. guttatus instead of P. versicolor. Dunayev et al. 2021 elevated hispidus and kulagini to full species status and thus removed them from versicolor, but they did not comment on either doriai or siebenrocki.

Synonymy partly after BARABANOV & ANANJEVA (2007) who consider doriai and hispidus as synonyms of versicolor (and thus recognize only 2 subspecies: versicolor and kulagini), but see subspecies above. 
References
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