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Praeteropus gowi (GREER & COGGER, 1985)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Speckled Worm-skink 
SynonymAnomalopus (Vermiseps) gowi GREER & COGGER 1985: 25
Anomalopus gowi — COGGER 2000: 384
Anomalopus gowi — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Praeteropus gowi — HUTCHINSON et al. 2021 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: 2.9 km NNE junction of Gulf and Kennedy Hwys via Kennedy Hwy, Qld  
TypesHolotype: QM J42615 (previously AMS (AM) R63128), collected by A. Greer, P. Webber, E. Cameron & R. Sadlier. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). Body serpentiform; limbless. Eyelids moveable, scaly; ear opening absent, position of ear not obvious or indicated by shallow depression with a few weakly ossified scales (Fig. 3D in Hutchinson et al. 2021).
Head shields (Fig. 4D). Nasals in medial contact; prefrontals usually absent (present in P. gowi); loreals one; supraoculars two or three; supraciliaries three, the first two separated from the third by the second or second and third supraoculars projecting laterally into the supraciliary row; parietal margined laterally and posteriorly by a single upper secondary temporal (usually divided in P. gowi) in contact with the single enlarged nuchal; subocular scale row much reduced; postmental contacting two infralabials on each side; frontoparietals usually separated (narrow medial contact in P. brevicollis); postmental contacting two infralabials on each side.
Parietal and pulmonary peritoneum dark pigmented; left and right oviducts present (Greer and Cogger, 1985; parietal pigmentation not confirmed in Praeteropus auxilliger sp. nov. or Praeteropus monachus sp. nov.).
Cranial osteology (Figs 5D–E, 6F–G); premaxillae mostly fused in adults; premaxillary teeth 5–6; all teeth upright, cylindrical, relatively stout and tapering rapidly to apical points; prefrontal contacts nasal, separating maxilla from frontal (P. gowi and P. auxilliger sp. nov.), or maxilla contacts frontal (P. brevicollis and P. monachus sp. nov.); parietal foramen often thinly closed on dorsal surface; upper temporal fenestra open; posttemporal fenestrae reduced but open; descending processes of the frontals anteroposteriorly narrow, retroflexed, terminating in contact with the apices of the orbitonasal flanges of the prefrontals; enlarged orbitosphenoids in anteromedial contact, linked to prefrontals; ventral process of the jugals elongate, anterior termination adjacent to the prefrontals; palatal rami of the pterygoids terminating posteromedially in short triangular posterior projections positioned anteriorly to the basipterygoid processes; stapes directed anterolaterally, extending to or beyond the medial margin of the quadrate column; LARST absent; angular distinct.
Postcranial osteology (Figs 7B, 8D–E, 9E–F); presacral vertebrae 46–57 (Greer, 1989); seven (P. brevicollis and P. monachus sp. nov.) or eight (P. gowi and P. auxilliger sp. nov.) cervical vertebrae; sacral vertebrae moveable and sacral ribs not fused distally; interclavicle reduced, cruciform or rod shaped; one pair of sternal ribs; inscriptional ribs connected via reduced medial elements that mostly lack posterolateral processes (leaf or spearpoint shaped); second and third cervical intercentra fused into a single crest; pelvis reduced to a pair of medially separated, anteroventrally oriented rods with inwardly inflected pubic regions (Hutchinson et al. 2021). 
CommentPhylogenetics: Singhal et al. 2018 found considerable paraphyly among A. gowi, brevicollis, and other members of Anomalopus. However, they did not propose any taxonomic implications. For a phylogeny of the genera Anomalopus, Praeteropus, and Sepsiscus see Hutchinson et al. 2021.

Limb morphology: 0 digits, 0 toes (Limbless, Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014)

Type species: Anomalopus (Vermiseps) gowi GREER & COGGER 1985 is the type species of the genus Praeteropus HUTCHINSON et al. 2021 
EtymologyNamed after Graeme Francis Gow (1940-2005), Australian herpetologist and Curator of Reptiles, Taronga Zoo, Sydney. He died from cancer but was also bitten several times by taipans and a death adder.

The genus was named after Latin praeteritus, bygone, omitted, and -pus, from the Latin -pes, foot, alluding to the leglessness of the included species. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Greer A E; Cogger H G 1985. Systematics of the reduce-limbed and limbless skinks currently assigned to the genus Anomalopus (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 37(1) 1985: 11-54 - get paper here
  • Hutchinson, M. N., Couper, P., Amey, A., & Wilmer, J. W. 2021. Diversity and Systematics of Limbless Skinks (Anomalopus) from Eastern Australia and the Skeletal Changes that Accompany the Substrate Swimming Body Form. Journal of Herpetology 55 (4): 361-384 - get paper here
  • Shea, Glenn M; Sadlier, Ross A 1999. A catalogue of the non-fossil amphibian and reptile type specimens in the collection of the Australian Museum: types currently, previously and purportedly present. TECHNICAL REPORTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM 15, 1999: 1-91 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Skinner, Adam; Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael S.Y. Lee 2013. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Australian Sphenomorphus Group Skinks (Scincidae, Squamata). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69 (3): 906–918 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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