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Physignathus cocincinus CUVIER, 1829

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Amphibolurinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Chinese Water Dragon, Green Water Dragon, Thai Water Dragon, Asian water dragon
G: Grüne Wasseragame
Chinese: 长鬣蜥 
SynonymPhysignathus cocincinus CUVIER 1829: 41 (pl. 16)
(?) Lophura concinna GRAY 1831
Lophura cuvieri GRAY 1831 (fide BOULENGER 1885)
Istiurus Cochinsinensis — GUÉRIN 1829: plate 9
Istiurus Cochinsinensis — CUVIER 1837: plate 18
Istiurus physignathus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837: 387 (nom. subst.)
Dilophyrus mentager GÜNTHER 1861: 188 (fide SMITH 1935)
Dilophyrus mentager GÜNTHER 1861: 267
Physignathus cochinchinensis — BOULENGER 1885: 399
Physignathus mentager — BOULENGER 1885: 400
Physignathus cocincinus caudicinctus BARBOUR 1912: 192
Physignathus cocincinus mentager — BARBOUR 1912
Physignathus cocincinus — SMITH 1935: 236
Physignathus cocincinus — TAYLOR 1963: 911
Physignatus cocincinus (sic) — WERNING 1993
Physignathus cocincinus — COX et al. 1998: 104
Physignathus cocincinus — MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999: 92
Physignathus cocincinus — ZIEGLER 2002: 182
Physignathus cocincinus — MANTHEY 2010
Physignathus concinius — GRISMER & QUAH 2019 (in error) 
DistributionE/SE Thailand, E Indochina, Vietnam (Son La etc.), Birma ? (fide MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999) S China (Namgong), Cambodia
Introduced to Taiwan (G.Norval, in AA).

Type locality: Cochinchine (= South Vietnam).

caudicinctus: Type locality: “Laokay, Tonkin”.  
Reproductionoviparous; facultatively parthenogenetic (Miller et al. 2019). 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2537 (indicated as holotype by monotypy in Brygoo's type catalogue), ? BMNH fide BOULENGER 1885.
Paratype: ZMB 5678, "Chartaboum, Siam", leg. M. Mouhot, gek. von Gerrard [mentager]
Holotype: MCZ 8352 [caudicinctus] 
DiagnosisDescription (genus): “Body more or less compressed; a dorsal, nuchal, and a caudal crest; no distinct gular sac; tympanum partly or completely distinct, superficial; tail compressed, or rounded in some species; femoral pores present.” (Taylor 1963: 911, but note that even Taylor mentions only 1 species)

Diagnosis (species): Body compressed; nuchal and dorsal crests continuous, caudal crest separated from dorsal by a hiatus; two diverging series of enlarged scales on lower jaw, larger than infralabials; a few scattered enlarged scales behind jaw angle; a nuchal fold; femoral pores in short series; tail strongly compressed; tympanimi partly scaled. (Taylor 1963: 911)

Description: Snout longer than orbit. Rostral a little wider than high, bordered behind by two supralabials and eight postrostrals; nasals rather small, surrounded by a ring of slightly elevated scales separated from rostral by three scales, from labials by five rows of scales; scales on snout larger than other head scales, about ten rows separating nasals; those on supraocular and occipital regions smaller except for a curved row of enlarged scales defining supraocular areas; a depressed area on anterior part of occiput and in interorbital region. Cheeks swollen in males; canthal and supra ciliary edge rather blunt; a fold across throat; scales in lower part of temporal region, the subocular and loreal areas, larger than those on occiput, the largest ones form a row bordering supralabials; a row of four or five enlarged suboculars; twelve supralabials; eleven infralabials; labial border of mental larger than that of rostral; first pair of chinshiclds the larger, forming a median suture, each heading a row of eight or nine much-enlarged scales, the rows diverging, two or three of the series touching infralabials scales; scales of chin and throat differ in size, those on sides of throat extending to behind jaw angles, with some enlarged tubercles, the two largest on each side, white in color.

Most of the scales on dorsal surface of head and body juxtaposed, tubercular, ridged, or blundy keeled; a denticulated nuchal crest arising from a fold of skin continuous with dorsal crest; latter ex tending to level of leg-insertions, the scales triangular, separated; one or more finely-pointed scales at base of each of nuchals no larger than dorsals; tail with a denticulate caudal crest, the scales tri angular touching one another at their bases, terminating at end of basal fourth and followed to tip of tail by two scalerows, with a depression between; lateral scales keeled, small, growing larger ventrally and distally; subcaudal scales enlarged, strongly keeled, ten or twelve rows proximally, usually four distally. Scales on venter imbricate, larger than dorsal scales, more or less keeled and bearing a terminal pit; the scales on limbs imbricate or subim bricate, variable in size, some distally keeled, others tuberculate; third and fourth fingers subequal with 22 lamellae on underside, each with two keels; fourth toe luuch the longest, with two or three rows of unequal irregular scales below, about 34 scales in each row; scales bordering outer edge of digit with a high compressed keel pointing down; scales at base of third toe especially modified; femoral pore-scales large, four on right side, five on left, the pore situated on posterior edge of scale; tympanum small, much of its surface scaled. The leg reaches almost to nostril. (Taylor 1963: 911)

Color in life: Above, head and body light greenish olive, the enlarged scales on chin bluish bordered with rose-lavender; venter and underside of limbs green with a wash of greenish yellow; anal region and underside of tail yellowish becoming grayish distally; tail gray-green with a series of 12 buff-brown bands beginning about 60 mm. behind vent and continuing to tip of tail, becoming wider and tending to encircle tail distally; the pore-scales cream; under side of hand and foot dirty yellowish white. Variation: The males are larger than females and the crests on neck, dorsum and tail are very much better developed, the indi vidual scales, compressed and longitudinally striated are from 10-12 millimeters in height. There is no complete hiatus between nuchal and dorsal crests but the crest-scales are much reduced in size where the crests meet. There is a distinct break between dorsal and caudal crests. The caudal crest is largely confined to the basal third of the tail, beyond which there are two ridges formed by two scale-rows, which terminate at tip. The femoral pores are better devel oped and functional in males. ( In females the pore may be indicated only by a notch in the pore-scale. ). (Taylor 1963: 911) 
CommentType species: Physignathus cocincinus CUVIER 1829 is the type species of the genus Physignathus CUVIER 1829. The genus Physignathus is not monophyletic (TOWNSEND et al. 2011); up to 8 species have been included in this genus but are now assigned to other genera.

Spelling: The original spelling in Cuvier 1829: 41 was “Phyhignat,us cocincinus” (including the typos and the comma) although the section heading was “Les Physignathes”, hence it is assumed that the species name was a (pretty serious) typo.

Karyotype: 2n=26, fundamental number (NF) = 48 in both males and females. 5 metacentric pairs and one submetacentric pair of macrochromosomes, 12 pairs of apparent microchromosomes. No apparent sex chromosomes (Patawang et al. 2015). 
EtymologyThe name given by CUVIER tried to latinize “Cochin China” which was the reason for GUÉRIN’s unjustified emendation to “cochinchinensis”. “Cochin China” is a name used by the French for the southernmost part of Vietnam. 
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