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Phymaturus spurcus BARBOUR, 1921

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Climber lizard [agilis]
S: Lagarto trepador [agilis] 
SynonymPhymaturus spurcus BARBOUR 1921: 139
Phymaturus spurcus — LOBO & QUINTEROS 2005
Phymaturus excelsus LOBO & QUINTEROS 2005
Phymaturus spectabilis LOBO & QUINTEROS 2005
Phymaturus agilis — SCROCCHI et al. 2010: 170
Phymaturus excelsus — SCROCCHI et al. 2010: 179
Phymaturus spurcus — SCROCCHI et al. 2010: 189
Phymaturus agilis — AVILA et al. 2011
Phymaturus spectabilis — PEREZ et al. 2011
Phymaturus agilis — AVILA et al. 2013
Phymaturus agilis — AVILA et al. 2014
Phymaturus agilis — SCOLARO et al. 2016
Phymaturus excelsus — BECKER et al. 2018 
DistributionArgentina (Río Negro).

Type locality: Huanuluan, Río Negro Province, Argentina (41° 22’ S, 69° 52’ W).

agilis: Argentina (Patagonia, Rio Negro); Type locality: rocky tableland (41º 25’ 40’’ S; 69º 45’ 07’’ W; 1030 m elevation), neighbour Provincial road 6 south of Ingeniero Jacobacci, Rio Negro Province, Argentina.

excelsus: Argentina (Rio Negro); Type locality: Ruta prov. 6, 1 km NW of Ojo de Agua, Dpto. Ñorquinco, Rio Negro, Argentina. 41°32’30”S; 69°51’33”W; 1141 m elevation.

spectabilis: Argentina (Rio Negro); Type locality: 28 km south of Ingeniero Jacobacci, Rio Negro province, Argentine (on Provintial Road 6) [41° 27’ S, 69° 46’ W]  
Reproductionovovivparous. As P. patagonicus is a facultative parthenogenetic species [Chiszar et al, HR 30: 98], P. spurcus and others in the group may be too. 
TypesHolotype: MCZ 14791, male; paratypes: MCZ
Holotype: MCN 1582. L. Avila & M. Morando, collectors [excelsus]
Holotype: MCN 1203. C. Abdala, F. Lobo, I. Martínez Oliver, and S. Quinteros, collectors [spectabilis]
Holotype: MLP.R. 5343, adult male. Collected by J.A. Scolaro and O.F. Tappari, 10 March 2006. [agilis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (spurcus) in LOBO & QUINTEROS 2005.

Diagnosis (excelsus): Phymaturus excelsus belongs to the patagonicus group (sensu Etheridge, 1995) because it has flat imbricate superciliaries, non-rugose dorsal scales on tail, subocular usually not fragmented, and subocularsupralabials separated by one scale row. This new species differs from all other members of this group in its unique dorsal pattern, with a dorsal background in black and a pair of longitudinal series of white occelli (fig. 1C). Similar patterns with a paired series of occelli are found (but in different colors, shapes, and arrengements) in payunae, zapalensis, and spectabilis sp. nov. (described below). Phymaturus payunae and P. zapalensis are sexually dimorphic in dorsal patterns, whereas in excelsus there are no pattern differences between the sexes. Dominant colors in excelsus are black and white, whereas in spectabilis are brown and light brown, and occelli in this latter species are much wider and more symmetrical.

Diagnosis (spectabilis): Phymaturus spectabilis belongs to the patagonicus group (sensu Etheridge, 1995) because it has flat imbricate superciliaries, non-rugose dorsal scales of the tail, subocular unique usually not fragmented, and subocular-supralabials separation given for one row of scales. It is distinguishible of all other species of the genus by its unusual dorsal pattern (Figures 2 and 4).Phenetically the species more close to P. spectabilis is P. excelsus. The last one exhibit a general dorsal pattern black with smaller and more occelli than spectabilis (7-8 among shoulder and the level of thighs versus 5-6) and several markings irregularly distributed on its vertebral field between the series of dorsal occelli.

Diagnosis (agilis). Phymaturus agilis exhibits slight sexual differences in body size, being females larger than males. However, sexual dichromatism is not observed. The species is a member of the patagonicus group of the genus, distinguished from the flagellifer (= palluma) group in having flat imbricate superciliar scales rather than rectangular and non-overlapping, slightly spiny and non-rugose caudal scales in verticilles (as seen among members of the flagellifer group). Additionally, it presents the Meckel’s groove fused. It has also the subocular scale fragmented (in 4–5 scales) and separated from supralabials by 2–3 rows of lorilabials, as in most species of the flagellifer group, but not seen in the majority of members of the patagonicus group. Phymaturus agilis can be distinguished from other members of the patagonicus group in having a unique and homogeneous colour pattern with only slight intersexual differences, by showing an attenuate incomplete ringed tail of 2x1 scales of red brick-like dark and light respectively, and a ventrally intense orange-red bricklike colour.

Phymaturus agilis differs from the sympatric P. spectabilis in having more fragmented the subocular scale, being fragmented in only two scales in P. spectabilis; in addition, in P. agilis the subocular scale is separated from supralabials by 2–3 rows of lorilabials, while in P. spectabilis is separated by only one row of lorilabials (see more details in the results paragraph). Phymaturus spurcus (Lobo & Quinteros 2005a) exhibits 3–4 fragmented suboculars and two rows of lorilabials separating suboculars and supralabials (our own data), resulting significantly different from P. agilis (Student’s t-test = 4.4; df = 41; P < 0.01). Phymaturus agilis differs from P. calcogaster, because this last species shows the subocular fragmented in four scales, separated from the supralabials by two rows of lorilabials, and similar wide of rostral and mental scales (Scolaro & Cei 2003; Scolaro et al. 2005), and from P. indistinctus, because it shows the subocular frequently fragmented in two scales and two rows of lorilabials between suboculars and supralabials. Phymaturus agilis differs from P. patagonicus, P. excelsus, P. tenebrosus, P. ceii, P. somuncurensis, because these species exhibit non divided subocular scale, and separated from the supralabials by a single row of lorilabials. From P. zapalensis, P. payuniae and P. nevadoi differs because in these species there is strong sexual dichromatism, absent from P. agilis. In addition, the high number of scales around midbody and on the ventral surface differentiates P. agilis from P. patagonicus, P. spurcus, P. excelsus, P. spectabilis, and P. tenebrosus. 
CommentSynonymy: Removed from synonymy of P. patagonicus by LOBO & QUINTEROS 2005. Phymaturus agilis is a brown color morph of P. spectabilis (fide Lobo et al. 2010). Becker et al. 2018 conclude that P. agilis, P. excelsus, P. spectabilis and P. spurcus compose a single highly structured species, effectively synonymizing them. This is supported by the observation that a large proportion of P. spectabilis females gave birth in captivity to P. agilis offspring, and vice versa (Becker et al. 2018).

Diet: herbivorous

This species belongs to the patagonicus group (fide LOBO et al. 2010) or the spurcus group (MORANDO et al. 2013).

The group sharing the same DNA bar codes formed by Phymaturus spurcus, Phymaturus spectabilis, Phymaturus excelsus, and Phymaturus agilis), are differentiated by low genetic distances which may be attributable to the presence of one species with high polymorphism (Corbalán et al. 2016).

Distribution: for a map of the spurcus group see MORANDA et al. 2013.

Sympatry: P. excelsus is syntopic with Phymaturus spurcus.

NCBI taxon ID: 1260052 [excelsus]
NCBI taxon ID: 1260052 [spectabilis] 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin “spurcus” for “dirty”, referring to its unicolor brown pattern.

Phymaturus excelsus is Latin for “distinguished”, which describes the peculiar and distinct pattern exhibited by these lizards.

The epithet spectabilis is Latin and means “notable, showy” in reference to the distinct pattern of dorsal occellations in this new species.

The specific name agilis refers to the ability of this lizard to climb and forage on large Lycium spp. (~ 2–3 m) shrubs, an unusual behaviour in the genus Phymaturus. 
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