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Pseudocordylus melanotus (SMITH, 1838)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Common Crag Lizard, Highveld Crag Lizard 
SynonymCordylus (Pseudocordylus) melanotus SMITH 1838
Pseudocordylus microlepidotus melanotus LOVERIDGE 1944
Pseudocordylus melanotus melanotus — DE WAAL 1978
Pseudocordylus melanotus melanotus — VISSER 1984
Cordylus melanotus — FROST et al. 2001
Pseudocordylus melanotus — STANLEY et al. 2011
Pseudocordylus melanotus melanotus — BATES et al. 2014: 202 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga Provinces)).

Type locality: South Africa [= hills between the main branches of the Orange River east of Philippolis, Orange Free State, restricted to Ficksburg District by De Waal (1978)].  
CommentSubspecies: Pseudocordylus melanotus subviridis is considered as a valid species by some authors, but treated as a subspecies by others. See P. subviridis.

Sexual dimorphism: most adult males, unlike adult females, are brightly coloured, and they are larger in body size and have relatively larger heads than females. Three basic colour phases can be distinguished among the brightly coloured adult males. No apparent differences in reproductive activity, number and differentiation state of the generation glands and femoral pores, or scar frequency were noted among the three colour phases. 
EtymologyNamed after its relatively dark color. 
  • BATES, M.F., & WHITTINGTON-JONES, C. 2009. Pseudocordylus m. melanotus (A. Smith, 1848). African Herp News (48): 23-25 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Boycott, R.C. 1992. An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland - get paper here
  • 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. 1964. A review of the crag lizards (Genus Pseudocordylus) of Natal. Annals of the Natal Museum 16: 99-110
  • Cooper Jr., W.E. 2005. Duration of movement as a lizard foraging movement variable. Herpetologica 61 (4): 363-372 - get paper here
  • Flemming, A.F. 1992. The Reproductive Cycle of the Viviparous Lizard Pseudocordylus melanotus melanotus in the Orange Free State. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (40): 67-69 - get paper here
  • Langerwerf, B. 1996. Notes on the Natural History, Husbandry, and Breeding of Drakensberg Crag Lizards (Pseudocordylus melanotus subviridis). In: Strimple, P. D. (Hrsg): Advances in Herpetoculture. Spec. Publ. Intern. Herp. Symp., No. 1: 75-79
  • Langerwerf, B. 2005. Haltung und Nachzucht des Drakensberg-Gürtelschweifes (Cordylus melanotus subviridis). Reptilia (Münster) 10 (51): 66-69 - get paper here
  • McConnachie, Suzanne 2014. The effects of temperature on oxygen consumption in the lizard Pseudocordylus melanotus from Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. African Journal of Herpetology 63: 57-69 - get paper here
  • McConnachie, Suzanne; Graham J. Alexander, and Martin J. Whiting 2010. SELECTED BODY TEMPERATURE AND THERMOREGULATORY BEHAVIOR IN THE SIT-AND-WAIT FORAGING LIZARD PSEUDOCORDYLUS MELANOTUS MELANOTUS. Herpetological Monographs 23 (1): 108-122 [2009] - get paper here
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. & Wyk, Johannes H. van 1993. Reptile fauna of the Katse Dam catchment area and a biogeographical assessment of species composition in the Lesotho Highlands. Koedoe (Pretoria), 36 (1): 67-78. - get paper here
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. & Wyk, Johannes H. van 1993. Sexual dimorphism in cordylid lizards: a case study of the Drakensberg crag lizard, Pseudocordylus melanotus. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 71 (9): 1715-1723. - get paper here
  • MOUTON, P. LE FRAS N.; DAHNÉ A. JANSE VAN RENSBURG and JOHANNES H. VAN WYK 2010. Epidermal glands in cordylid lizards, with special reference to generation glands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 312–324. - get paper here
  • Reissig, J. 2014. Girdled Lizards and Their Relatives. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, ISBN-10: 3899734378
  • Riley, J. L., Baxter‐Gilbert, J. H., & Whiting, M. J. 2021. Social and spatial patterns of two Afromontane crag lizards (Pseudocordylus spp.) in the Maloti‐Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa. Austral Ecology - get paper here
  • Smith, A. 1838. Contributions to South African zoology. Art. VI. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (1) 2: 30-33 - get paper here
  • Stanley, Edward L.; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman, William R. Branch, P. Le Fras N. Mouton 2011. Between a rock and a hard polytomy: rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1): 53-70. - get paper here
  • Waal, S. W. P. de 1978. The Squamata (Reptilia) of the Orange Free State, South Africa. Memoirs van die Nasionale Museum (Bloemfontein), 11: iii + 160 S.
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