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Platysaurus attenboroughi WHITING, BRANCH, PEPPER & KEOGH, 2015

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Platysaurinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Attenborough’s Flat Lizard
Afrikaans: Attenborough se Platakkedis 
SynonymPlatysaurus attenboroughi WHITING, BRANCH, PEPPER & KEOGH 2015
Platysaurus capensis — FITZSIMONS 1935: 535 (part)
Platysaurus capensis — FITZSIMONS 1943: 473
Platysaurus capensis — LOVERIDGE 1944: 97
Platysaurus capensis — ROSE 1950: 155; 1962: 156
Platysaurus capensis — BROADLEY 1978: 157
Platysaurus capensis — BRANCH 1998: 165
Platysaurus capensis — VAN WYK & MOUTON 1996: 117
Platysaurus capensis — WHITING in BATES et al. 2014: 214 
DistributionS Namibia

Type locality: Fish River Canyon, Karasburg District, southern Namibia (27 ̊52'21.7°S, 17 ̊31'15.7°E; quarter-degree unit, 2717Dc).  
TypesHolotype: DNMNH (= TM) 85806 (MJW 936), adult male collected by Bryan Maritz, Nick Tye and Chris Barichievy, May 2008 (Table 2, Figure 4–5 in Whiting et al. 2015); Allotype. DNMNH (= TM) 85807 (MJW 937), adult female collected by Bryan Maritz, Nick Tye and Chris Barichievy, May 2008; same locality data as holotype. Paratypes (2 specimens): DNMNH (= TM) 85805 (MJW 935), adult male, DNMNH (= TM) 85804 (MJW 934), adult female, both collected by Bryan Maritz, Nick Tye and Chris Barichievy, May 2008, Fish River Canyon, Karasburg District, southern Namibia (27 ̊50'03.7S, 17 ̊32'47.5E; quarter-degree unit, 2717Dc) (Table 2). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium-sized Platysaurus (Table 3, Figure 4) distinguished from all congeners, except P. capensis and P. broadleyi, in that the scales on the side of the neck are indistinguishable from those on the dorsum. It can be distinguished from P. broadleyi as follows: the breeding male has blue forelimbs (anterior surface) while that of P. broadleyi may be orange, yellow, or a combination; the male has a light blue throat (Fig. 4, 5) compared to the dark blue of P. broadleyi (although this may be highly variable and could be related to male fighting ability (Whiting et al., 2006); and the male also has an extensive blue belly with a small orange lower abdominal patch and sometimes with an irregular black abdominal patch (centre), while P. broadleyi has a darker (deep blue-black) abdomen with the lower abdomen usually orange (but may also be yellow or a mix). It also differs from P. broadleyi in some features of scalation, particularly the number of collar scales (mean P. attenboroughi sp. nov. 7.93 ± 1.06, P. broadleyi 9.22 ± 1.04), transverse dorsal scale rows (mean P. attenboroughi sp. nov. 85.23 ± 4.32, P. broadleyi 104.96 ± 5.38) and the smaller upper forelimb scales (mean P. attenboroughi sp. nov. 17.17 ± 2.09, P. broadleyi 25.82 ± 2.31; Table 3). Adult male coloration in P. attenboroughi sp. nov. is further distinguished from P. capensis by having the dorsum more extensively covered with white spots (Figure 4), and with a reduced fine vertebral stripe that only partially extends on to the hindbody, and with reduced (or absent) broad, dark paravertebral stripes; adult female coloration is more vaguely patterned than in either P. capensis or P. broadleyi, lacking the bold dark and pale paravertebral stripes and with scattered pale spots. It also differs from P. capensis in features of scalation (summarized in Table 3), particularly the greater number of upper forelimb scale rows (mean P. attenboroughi sp. nov. 17.17 ± 2.09, P. capensis 14.62 ± 1.04) and number of subdigital lammelae beneath the 4th toe (mean P. attenboroughi sp. nov. 19.10 ± 1.11, P. capensis 17.92 ± 0.64). 
EtymologyNamed after Sir David F. Attenborough, in recognition of his immense contribution to the public understanding and appreciation of animals, plants, ecosystems and nature in general. David Attenborough made flat lizards, specifically the closely related Platysaurus broadleyi, famous in the BBC documentary series Life in Cold Blood. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 3rd ed. Fully Revised and Updated to Include 83 New Species. Ralph Curtis Books (Sanibel Island, Florida), 399 pp.
  • Broadley, D. G. 1978. A revision of the Genus Platysaurus A. Smith. Occ. Papers Nat. Museum south. Rhodesia, B, 6 (4): 129-185
  • FitzSimons, V. F. 1935. Notes on a collection of reptiles and amphibians made in the Southern Kalahari, Bushmanland, and Great and Little Namaqualand. Annals Transvaal Mus., Pretoria 17: 519-550 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Hepp, A. 2019. Plattechse am Zapfhahn. Elaphe 2019 (4): 9-10
  • Loveridge,A. 1944. Revision of the African lizards of the family Cordylidae. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 95 (1): 1-118 - get paper here
  • Rose, W. 1950. The Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern Africa. Maskew Miller, Cape Town, xxv + 378 pp., 213 figs., 7 pls
  • Van Wyk, J.H. & Mouton, P.L.F.N. 1996. The reproductive cycles of the oviparous lizards Platysaurus capensis and P. minor: Evidence supporting a viviparity-oviparity reversal in the Cordylidae. Amphibia Reptilia, 17: 115–129 - get paper here
  • WHITING, MARTIN J.; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, MITZY PEPPER & J. SCOTT KEOGH 2015. A new species of spectacularly coloured flat lizard Platysaurus (Squamata: Cordylidae: Platysaurinae) from southern Africa. Zootaxa 3986 (2): 173–192 - get paper here
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