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Polychrus acutirostris SPIX, 1825

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Higher TaxaPolychrotidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Brazilian Bush Anole
G: Spitzkopf-Buntleguan
Portuguese: Bicho-Preguiça, Calango-Cego, Camaleão, Camaleão-Preguiça, Camaleãozinho, Catatau, Falso-Camaleão, Lagarto-Preguiça, Papa-Vento 
SynonymPolychrus acutirostris SPIX 1825: 15
Ecphymotes acutirostris — FITZINGER 1826: 49
Polychrus anomalus WIEGMANN 1834
Polychrus anomalus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837: 69
Laemanctus acutirostris — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837: 75
Ecphymotes acutirostris — GRAY 1845: 185
Polychrus acutirostris — BOULENGER 1885: 99
Polychrus anomalus — BOETTGER 1885
Polychrus marmoratus acutirostris — BURT & BURT 1933: 41
Polychrus acutirostris — PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970: 233
Polychrus acutirostris — DIRKSEN & DE LA RIVA 1999
Polychrus acutirostris — CACCIALI et al. 2016 
DistributionS/E Brazil (Bahia, Goias, Pernambuco, Mato Grosso, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Piauí, Paraíba), Paraguay, Argentina, E Bolivia (Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Santz Cruz, Tarija, Formosa)

Type locality: Bahia, Brazil.  
TypesHolotype: lost, was ZSM 490/0 (lost), number of specimens unknown (Franzen & Glaw 2007, see also Hoogmoed & Gruber 1983) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Polychrus with a pointed snout; scales on dorsal surface of head moderate in size, and tending to become rugose in larger animals; nasal in contact with second and third, third, or third and fourth supralabials; gular crest absent; gular fan reaches level of forelimbs; scales on flanks about as large as, or larger than, scales on tail; ventrals sharply pointed and keeled. Males in reproductive condition with a series of black spots on upper part of flanks. Inhabitant of open formations (Avila-Pires 1995: 126 ff).

Description. Polychrus with maximum SVL in males of 124 mm, in females of 146 mm (Vitt & Lacher, 1981; Vanzolini et al. mentioned SVL of 150 mm, with no reference to sex or specimen). Head 0.22-0.23 times SVL among six (sub-)adults studied, 0.26-0.28 times in two juveniles (MPEG 625, MPEG 16160); 1.5-1.8 (1.68 ± 0.07, n= 8) times as long as wide; 1.0-1.1 (1.05 ± 0.06, n= 8) times as wide as high. Snout pointed; canthus rostralis distinct posteriorly. Neck narrower than head, almost as wide as anterior part of body. Body compressed. Limbs well developed, tibia 0.12-0.16 (0.14 ± 0.01, n= 8) times SVL. Tail round in cross section, tapering toward tip, 1.9-2.4 times SVL in four (sub-)adult specimens, 1.7-1.8 times in two juveniles.
Tongue wide, villose, tip nicked. Anterior teeth conical, posterior teeth tricuspid.
Rostral pentagonal (most commonly), approximately trapezoid or triangular, distinctly wider than high, just visible from above. Bordered posteriorly by 2-3 scales. Scales on snout heterogeneous in size (mostly relatively large), irregularly polygonal, juxtaposed, flat and smooth in juveniles, becoming rugose in large specimens; 4-6 scales in a transverse row between second canthals. Three relatively small canthals between nasal and supraciliaries. Supraorbital semicircles distinct, with 6-9 scales, separated medially by one row of scales about as large as those of supraocular semi-circles (except in MPEG 625, where the median scales are very narrow). Scales of supraocular region smaller than those on snout, polygonal, juxtaposed, flat, and smooth, usually decreasing in size toward supraciliaries. Supraciliaries 9-12, juxtaposed or slightly imbricate, smooth, squarish or slightly longer than wide; in a continuous series with canthals. Scales on parietal region smaller but otherwise similar to those on snout, and as large as, to larger than, largest supraoculars. In the largest specimen observed (MPEG 1589) part of supraorbital series and scales around interparietal distinctly convex and rugose. Interparietal usually slightly larger than adjacent scales; parietal eye distinct, in centre of scale. On occipital region scales smaller than those adjacent to interparietal, smooth, flat and juxtaposed or, in the largest specimens, slightly convex and imbricate. Loreal region with few scales; mostly two, exceptionally three scales between second canthal and supralabials. Nasal undivided, usually in contact with second and third supralabials, in some specimens only with third, or with third and fourth (in this case apparently due to an extra supralabial resulting from a division of the rostral). Nostril directed lateroposteriorly. Eye-lids partially fused together, covered by granules, larger toward rim. Preoculars small; 2-3 suboculars, in contact with supralabials, followed by 4-6 postoculars.
Supralabials 6-8, last or one before last below centre of eye; followed to commissure by 2-4 (usually three) relatively small scales. Temporal region with scales similar to those on occipital region, from which they are separated by a single or double row of scales; scales smaller near ear-opening. Ear-opening large, vertically oval, with smooth margin; tympanum superficial.
Mental triangular, posteriorly indented by first infralabials and postmentals, and partially divided by a median sulcus. Postmentals 2-4, lateral ones distinctly larger than median ones. Infralabials 6-8, last or one before last below centre of eye; followed to commissure by small scales. Scales on chin polygonal, longer than wide, grading from slightly larger, variable in shape, flat and juxtaposed near infralabials, to smaller, rectangular, convex, and imbricate medially; a short medial sulcus is more or less apparent anteriorly, according to the specimen. Toward gular region scales predominantly rectangular, imbricate, in longitudinal rows, medial scales on gular fan smaller and shorter, in some cases broadly keeled. In MPEG 1589 rows of scales distinctly separated by naked skin. Gular fan reaches anterior level of forelimbs.
Scales on nape anteriorly relatively small, quadrangular to irregularly polygonal, juxtaposed to subimbricate, convex, smooth; posteriorly grading into dorsals. O n sides of neck scales tending to become oval, ventrally grading into gulars. Dorsals roughly rhomboid or irregularly polygonal, imbricate, flat, keeled; 111-126 (116.0 ± 7.3, n= 7) scales in a middorsal line between occiput and posterior margin of hind limbs. Scales on flanks oval or rectangular, larger than dorsals, juxtaposed or slightly imbricate, convex, smooth or broadly keeled, in oblique rows which may be separated by areas of skin covered by small, irregular granules. Ventrals rhomboid, sharply pointed (more rounded in MPEG 625) and keeled, imbricate. A gradual transition between dorsals, laterals and ventrals. Scales around midbody 57-73 (64.8 ± 5.8, n= 6). Preanal plate with scales similar to ventrals, but smaller. Preanal pores absent. Femoral pores 23-24 in total (11-13 per side), in two males; 13-20 (6-10 per side) in four females; and 12-17 (5-9 per side) in two juveniles. In both sexes pores form a notch in the scales in which they are located, but they are much larger in males, and may be quite small and indistinct in females.
Tail with variably polygonal, imbricate, flat, keeled scales, distally in longitudinal and oblique rows. Keels stronger on ventral surface, distally forming longitudinal ridges. MPEG 579 (svl 103 mm) has a damaged tail of 96 mm, with a round tip closed by scales, but without regenerated segment.
Scales on limbs mostly rhomboid, imbricate, flat, varying from smooth to distinctly keeled; larger on anterior and dorsal aspects, smaller on ventral and posterior aspects. Subdigital lamellae of fingers and toes single, short, multicarinate; 19-26 (24.7 ± 1.8, n= 15, 8 specimens) under fourth finger, 23-32 (29.1 ± 2.7, n= 15, 8 specimens) under fourth toe (respectively 19-21 and 23-24 in MPEG 625, 23-26 and 27-32 in remaining specimens) (Avila-Pires 1995: 126 ff).

Coloration. Colour in life described by Vanzolini et al. (1980) as pale olive on dorsal region, either uniform or with irregular, angulate, transverse black bands; males in breeding condition with a row of three round, black spots on flanks behind the arm. Belly and limbs lighter, greyish-white, in some specimens with dark marbling. Black lines radiating from eyes, of which two reach insertion of forelimbs, and an inferior, less distinct one, running through tympanum. Mertens (1930) noticed that the species can change its colour considerably, with a light, grey to nearly white phase, and a dark, brown phase.
In preservative specimens studied predominantly light sand-colour, MPEG 580 cream-colour, MPEG 016 tan. Among the two males, MPEG 579 was almost uniformly coloured; MPEG 580 presented seven (at one side) plus eight (at the other side) dark spots along upper part of flanks (nuptial pattern?), of which first and last ones at each side elongate, first one running between ear-opening and insertion of forelimbs (anterior to it, between eye and ear-opening, a paler dark band). Females and juveniles with five transverse, irregular, dark bands, which may intercalate with narrower bands; posterior wide band at level of hind limbs or base of tail, followed along tail by several other transverse dark bands; in MPEG 1589 bands interrupted on vertebral region, and in MPEG 3116 only some lateral remnants of bands are present. Two narrow stripes at each side run from eye to insertion of forelimb, upper one passing above ear-opening, lower one through it (that is, reaching anterior border, and continuing again from posterior border). Ventral region light, uniformly coloured, either i n males, females and juveniles (Avila-Pires 1995: 126 ff). 
CommentSynonymy following that of CEI 1993 and Avila-Pires 1995.

Distribution: not in Uruguay (M. Hoogmoed, pers. comm., 19 Feb 2013, based on a thesis by C. Nogueira). 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “acuere” = sharp, or “acutus” = sharpened, pointed, or “acumen” = tip, or “acus” = needle; “rostrum” = beak, proboscis, or trunk. 
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