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Potamites hydroimperator CHÁVEZ, MALQUI & CATENAZZI, 2021

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymPotamites hydroimperator CHÁVEZ, MALQUI & CATENAZZI 2021
Potamites ecpleopus – Torres-Carvajal et al. 2016: 70. 
DistributionPeru (Huánuco)

Type locality: Departamento de Huánuco, Puerto Inca Province, El Sira Communal Reserve, Campamento Hospital (on the trail to the top of El Sira Communal Reserve); 9.478667° S, 74.778139° W; 757 m a.s.l.  
TypesHolotype: CORBIDI 13915, adult male; 28 Nov. 2013; G. Chávez leg.; (Figs 2, 4A–B, 7A).
Paratypes (n = 4): PERU • 1 adult female; same locality data as for holotype; 21 Mar. 2014; G. Chávez and J. Malqui leg.; Genbank accession code KU902066; CORBIDI 14382 • 2 adult males; Departamento de Huánuco, Puerto Inca Province, El Sira Communal Reserve, Campamento Caoba (on the trail to the top of El Sira Communal Reserve); 9.502194° S, 74. 80425° W; 545 m a.s.l.; 28 Mar. 2014; G. Chávez and J. Malqui leg.; CORBIDI 14468 to 14469 (Figs 3A–D, 5A–B) • 1 adult female; same collection data as for preceding; CORBIDI 14470 (Fig. 3E–F). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized Potamites (SVL = 50.5–59.6 mm, n = 5) characterized by the following combination of morphological features: 1) Body slender, slightly depressed laterally, maximum SVL in males 59.6 mm, 51.6 mm in females; 2) head acuminate from dorsal and lateral view, scales on the dorsal surface of the head smooth; 3) frontonasal divided, shorter than frontal, small rounded azygous scale usually present between frontonasal and prefrontals; 4) prefrontals present; 5) frontal present; 6) loreal present, romboid, not in contact with supralabials; 7) nasal partially divided, behind the nostril; 8) supraoculars four, anteriormost not fused with anteriormost superciliar; 9) superciliar series complete, usually five, occasionally four; 10) supralabial-subocular fusion absent; 11) lower palpebral disc oval, transparent, not divided; 12) postoculars three; 13) postparietals 10–11; 14) hemipenis in two pairs, transverse sutures perpendicular with respect to midline of body; 15) dorsals rectangular, subimbricate, granular and keeled; 16) 34–36 longitudinal rows of dorsal keeled scales, 2–3 granular scales between the two paravertebral rows of keeled dorsals; 17) flanks partially covered by subconical low tubercles, absent or poorly present above the insertion of forelimbs; 18) anterolateral and dorsal brachial scales of forelimbs smooth or slightly keeled; 19) 32–36 scales around midbody; 20) 21–22 longitudinal rows of ventral scales; 21) 32– 33 total femoral pores in males, two in females, two scales between femoral pores; 22) 14–16 subdigital scales on 4th finger; 23) 21–24 on 4th toe; 24) forelimb reaching anteriorly the fourth supralabial; 25) tail slightly compressed with three rows of lateral scales per two ventral caudals; 26) hemipenis globose (Supp. file 5), lobes indistinct from hemipenial body; 27) hemipenial flounces chevron shaped, lacking calcified spines, laterally oriented and forming two chevrons on distal half of hemipenis while its basal half is covered with four transverse flounces, separated by a small expansion pleat; sulcate flounces about as wide as asulcate flounces; isolated transversal flounces on proximal-central region of asulcate face absent; distal filiform appendages on the hemipenial lobes absent, sulcus spermaticus single; 28) dorsum yellowish brown to dark brown with slightly darker irregular blotches; 5–8 lateral ocelli with a creamy yellow center on each flank in males, a single ocellus with a pale brown center at the level of the insertion of forelimbs on each flank in females; flanks yellowish brown or partially pigmented of vermilion red in adult males; a creamy white to yellow diagonal stripe (continuous or discontinuous) going from 4th or 5th supralabials to 5th infralabial; ventral coloration in males vermilion red to reddish pink on belly and base of the tail, yellowish pink on ventral surface on limbs, pale blue to grayish blue on ventral surface of the neck and throat, saffron yellow on femoral pores; ventral coloration in females creamy yellow on throat, chest, belly, ventral surface of limbs and base of the tail, with black speckling on throat; ventral surface of the rest of the tail yellowish brown to dark brown in males and females; pupil black surrounded by a yellowish orange to copper ring, iris olive to yellowish brown (CHÁVEZ et al. 2021).

Comparisons: The presence of longitudinal dorsal rows of keeled scales makes Potamites hydroimperator sp. nov. similar in appearance to populations of P. ecpleopus, a species widely distributed along the eastern Andean foothills and the Amazon (Uzzell 1966; Avila-Pires 1995; Ribeiro-Júnior & Amaral 2016, 2017). Potamites hydroimperator sp. nov. can be distinguished from P. ecpleopus (characters for P. ecpleopus in parenthesis) by having low tubercles on flanks and above forelimbs (vs flanks strongly tuberculate, see Fig. 8A–C), anterodorsal region of forelimbs smooth or slightly keeled (vs strongly keeled, see Fig. 8A–C), 4–5 superciliars (vs 3–4, see Fig. 4A, C), a smaller size with males reaching a maximum SVL of 59.6 mm (vs 64.0 mm, except for the Ucayali Valley population, where males reach 58.0 mm), and the presence of 5–8 pairs of conspicuous lateral ocelli in males (vs 1–5 pairs of conspicuous lateral ocelli). The new species is easily distinguishable from P. erythrocularis, P. montanicola, P. ocellatus, and P. trachodus (Figs 5, 7), all of them inhabiting the Andean foothills and montane forests, by having longitudinal rows of keeled scales on dorsum (vs scattered or irregular rows of keeled scales), and males with 5–8 lateral ocelli on each flank (vs 1–5). Potamites hydroimperator sp. nov. shares with P. juruazensis the presence of an azygous scale behind frontonasal in the most of individuals (Fig. 4B, H), but is easily differentiable by having a larger SVL reaching 59.6 mm in males (vs 50 mm), an acuminate head from lateral view (vs rounded), a longer count of total femoral pores, 32–33 in males and two in females (vs 10–16 in males, 0–1 in females), numerous lateral ocelli in males and females (vs absent), and absence of small scales between frontal and frontoparietals (vs two or three small scales, see Fig. 4B, H). Finally, P. hydroimperator sp. nov. differs from P. stangulatus by having rows of keeled scales on neck and dorsum (vs low not keeled dorsal scales, see Fig. 5A–B, K–L), a smaller count of transverse rows of dorsals with 34–36 (vs 55–90), and by having a smaller number of total femoral pores, 32–33 in males and two in females (vs 54–55 in males, 6–10 in females) (CHÁVEZ et al. 2021).

Coloration in life: Dorsal and lateral surfaces of head brown to dark brown (Fig. 2C); rostral scale same colour as head; superior labium bluish grey with pale red irregular blotches on third, fourth, and fifth supralabials, irregular vermilion red blotches on sixth and seventh supralabials, an irregular diagonal pale yellow stripe going from fourth supralabial to superior edge of fifth infralabial; infralabials grayish blue, pale red faded blotches on fifth infralabial, and a vermilion red patch on sixth infralabial; iris olive yellow, with a copper orange ring surrounding pupil; throat and gular region greyish blue, darker on ventral surface of neck. Dorsal surface of body yellowish brown, with some darker areas; coloration on flanks yellowish brown with eight black ocelli on both sides, going from neck to base of tail (after insertion of forelimbs), each ocelli bearing a white center; tuberculate scales darker than granular scales; belly vermilion red. Dorsal surface of limbs similar to body, ventral surface of arms and legs pinkish cream; femoral pores saffron yellow. Coloration of dorsal surface of tail like that of body, ventral surface of tail pinkish cream with irregular red blotches at base, and a darker flecking pattern on rest of tail (CHÁVEZ et al. 2021). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet ʻhydroimperatorʼ derives from the Greek word ʻhydroʼ (ʻwaterʼ), and the Latin name ʻimperatorʼ (ʻemperorʼ). The name alludes to the riparian habits of the new species, which is the only lizard in El Sira using the streams as part of its habitat. 
  • Chávez, G., Malqui, J., & Catenazzi, A. 2021. A new riparian Andean Potamites (Reptilia, Squamata, Gymnophtalmidae) from El Sira Mountains, central Peru, with comments on P. ecpleopus Cope 1875, and on the taxonomy and biogeography of Potamites. European Journal of Taxonomy, 760: 136-159 - get paper here
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