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Potamites strangulatus (COPE, 1868)

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPotamites strangulatus strangulatus (COPE 1868)
Potamites strangulatus trachodus UZZELL 1966 
Common NamesE: Big-scaled Neusticurus 
SynonymEuspondylus strangulatus COPE 1868: 99
Euspondilus Festae PERACCA 1897: 10
Neusticurus strangulatus — UZZELL 1961
Neusticurus festae — UZZELL 1961
Neusticurus strangulatus strangulatus — UZZELL 1966: 302
Neusticurus strangulatus — PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970: 207
Neusticurus strangulatus — CASTOE et al. 2004
Potamites strangulatus — DOAN & CASTOE 2005

Neusticurus strangulatus trachodus UZZELL 1966
Neusticurus strangulatus trachodus — PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970
Neusticurus strangulatus trachodus — SHERBROOKE & COLE 1972
Potamites strangulatus trachodus — DOAN & CASTOE 2005 (by implication)
Potamites (Neusticurus) trachodus — TORRES-CARVAJAL et al. 2016
Potamites trachodus — CHÁVEZ et al. 2021 
DistributionEcuador, Peru (Amazonian slopes of Andes)

trachodus: Peru (Huánuco, Andes of central Peru, elevation 750-1600 m); Type locality: Divisoria (= Cordillera Azul, Huánuco, Peru, 1300-1600 m.

Type locality: Ecuador (according to UZZELL 1966 probably either between Papallacta and Napo, or along Río Napo, before it joins Río Marañón, in Ecuador or Peru.)  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 7538
Holotype: FMNH 55992 (given as CNMH), adult male, collected by Jose M. Schunke, September 8, 1947; paratypes: FMNH, MCZ [trachodus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Potamites differs from members of subfamily Alopoglossinae by having its tongue covered in imbricate, scale-like papillae instead of oblique plicae (Harris, 14), from subfamily Gymnophthalminae by having moveable eyelids, from subfamily Rhachisaurinae by having external ear openings and from sub-family Ecpleopinae by having heterogeneous dorsal scalation. Within subfamily Cercosaurinae (sensu Castoe et al., 2004), Potamites differs from all genera except Echinosaura, Neusticurus, and Teuchocercus by having heterogeneous dorsal scalation. It differs from Echinosaura by lacking basal spines on the hemipenes, from Teuchocercus by lacking conical scales on the tail, and from Neusticurus (character states in parentheses) by having a slightly compressed tail (strongly compressed), subimbricate ventral scales (imbricate), and calcareous spinules on flounces of hemipenes (no spinules).

Definition of the genus: Tongue with imbricate, scale-like papillae. Nostril pierced in a single nasal; nasals separated usually by paired or single frontonasals, occasionally by irregular scales; prefrontals paired or irregular; in-terparietal usually bordered by a pair of parietals laterally, by a series of two to eight smaller scales posteriorly; occipital and temporal scales differentiated or not; rostral large, mental and postmental single, followed by several paired chin shields; gular crease feeble or absent. Collar fold well developed. Lower eyelid developed, with a palpebral disc undivided or divided into two to seven scales, transparent or pigmented. Tympanum at surface of head or slightly recessed, overhung by surrounding scales of surface of head. Dorsal scales heterogeneous, imbricate, with large, keeled tubercles intermixed with small flat scales, in transverse or longitudinal rows. Ventral scales wider than dorsals, usually flat, rectangular or slightly rounded posteriorly, subimbricate, in transverse and 6–10 longitudinal rows; lateral rows raised or keeled in some species. Limbs pentadactyl, digits clawed; forefoot with enlarged, plate-like scales along inner margin between thumb and wrist; under side of third and fourth toes with paired scales proximally, inner scale a rounded tubercle. Tail slightly compressed; a double caudal crest, feebly to strongly developed. Total femoral and preanal pores: 10–5 in males; 0–2 in females. Preanal plate in 2–3 rows, posterior row 2–5 scales in both sexes. Males and females with or without conspicuous, white- or brown-centred, black-bordered ocelli on their lateral body surfaces. Hemipenis without basal hooks; flounces with minute calcareous spinules. 
CommentSynonymy after PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970.

Type species: Euspondylus strangulatus COPE 1868 is the type species of the genus Potamites DOAN & CASTOE 2005. 
EtymologyPotamites is a masculine Greek noun, meaning water finder. It refers to the fact that most members of this genus are semiaquatic, walking on the bottom of streams and often diving into streams to escape predation. 
  • Avila-Pires, Teresa C. S. and Laurie J. Vitt. 1998. A new species of Neusticurus (Reptilia: Gymnophthalmidae) from the Rio Juruá, Acre, Brazil. Herpetologica 54 (2):235-245. - get paper here
  • Castoe, T.A.; Doan, T.M. & Parkinson, C.L. 2004. Data partitions and complex models in Bayesian analysis: the phylogeny of Gymnophthalmid lizards. Systematic Biology 53 (3): 448-469 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Cope, E.D. 1868. An examination of the Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by the Orton Expedition to Equador and the Upper Amazon, with notes on other species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 20: 96-140 - get paper here
  • Doan, T. M. & Castoe, T.A. 2005. Phylogenetic taxonomy of the Cercosaurini (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae), with new genera for species of Neusticurus and Proctoporus. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 143: 405–416. - get paper here
  • Fang, José M.; Juan D. Vásquez-Restrepo & Juan M. Daza 2020. Filling the gaps in a highly diverse Neotropical lizard lineage: a new and endemic genus of Cercosaurinae (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) with the description of two new species from the Northern Andes of Colombia. Systematics and Biodiversity, DOI: 10.1080/14772000.2020.1783714 - get paper here
  • Fugler, Charles M. and A. Brad Walls. 1978. The lizards of the Upano Valley of southeastern ecuador. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 54 (3): 120-121 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2000. Neusticurus strangulatus (COPE, 1868). Sauria 22 (3): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Peracca, M.G. 1897. Viaggio del Dr. Enrico Festa nell’Ecuador e regioni vicine. IV. Rettili. Bollettino dei Musei di Zoologia e di Anatomia Comparata della R. Università di Torino 12 (300): 1-20 - get paper here
  • Sherbrooke, W.C. & Cole, C.J. 1972. Chromosomes of the South American Teiid Lizards Neusticurus ecpleopus Cope and Neusticurus strangulatus trachodus Uzzell. Copeia 1972 (4): 886-889 - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal, Omar; Simón E. Lobos, Pablo J. Venegas, Germán Chávez, Vanessa Aguirre-Peñafiel, Daniel Zurita, Lourdes Y. Echevarría 2016. Phylogeny and biogeography of the most diverse clade of South American gymnophthalmid lizards (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae, Cercosaurinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 99: 63-75, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.03.006
  • Uzzell, T.M. 1961. Status of the Teiid Lizards Euspondylus strangulatus Cope and Euspondylus festae Peracca. Copeia 1961 (2): 139-144 - get paper here
  • Uzzell, Thomas M. 1966. Teid Lizards of the genus Neusticurus (Reptilia, Sauria). Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 132 (5): 279-327 - get paper here
  • Venegas, Pablo J.; Giuseppe Gagliardi-Urrutia y Marco Odicio 2014. ANFIBIOS Y REPTILES. In: Pitman et al. 2014, Peru: Cordillera Escalera-Loreto. The Field Museum, Chicago - get paper here
  • Whithworth, A. & Beirne, C. 2011. Reptiles of the Yachana Reserve. Global Vision International, 130 pp. - get paper here
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