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Salvator merianae DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1839

IUCN Red List - Salvator merianae - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaTeiidae, Tupinambinae, Gymnophthalmoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesSalvator merianae merianae (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839)
Salvator merianae buzioensis (MÜLLER 1968)
Salvator merianae sebastiani (MÜLLER 1968) 
Common NamesE: Argentine Black and White Tegu, Argentine giant tegu
Portuguese: Jacuraru, Lagarto, Lagarto-Comum, Lagarto-Tejo, Tegu, Teiú, Teiuaçu, Teiú-Açu, Teiú-Branco, Teiú-Brasileiro, Teiú-Comum, Teiú-Gigante, Tejo, Teju, Tejú, Tejuaçu, Tejú-Açu, Tejuguaçu, Tiju, Tiú, Tiú-Açu 
SynonymLacertus Tupinambis LACÉPÈDE 1788
Salvator merianae DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 85
Teius teguixim — GRAY 1845: 16
Tupinambis teguixin — BOULENGER 1885b: 335
Tejus tejuexin — CAMP 1923: 377
Tupinambis rufescens — PRESCH 1973: 743 (part)
Tupinambis merianae — DIRKSEN & DE LA RIVA 1999
Tupinambis merianae — VRCIBRADIC et al. 2011
Salvator merianae — HARVEY et al. 2012
Tupinambis merianae — AVILA et al. 2013
Tupinambis merianae — CROTHER et al. 2017

Salvator merianae buzioensis (MÜLLER 1968)
Tupinambis teguixin buzioensis MÜLLER 1968
Tupinambis teguixin buzioensis — BÖHME 2010
Salvator merianae buzioensis — HARVEY et al. 2012 (by implication)

Salvator merianae sebastiani (MÜLLER 1968)
Tupinambis teguixin sebastiani MÜLLER 1968
Tupinambis teguixin sebastiani — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 272
Tupinambis teguixin sebastiani — BÖHME 2010
Salvator merianae sebastiani — HARVEY et al. 2012 (by implication) 
DistributionBrazil (Amazonas, Rio Grande do Sul, Goias, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Ceará, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Sergipe, Piauí, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, Paraíba), Uruguay, Bolivia (Santa Cruz), Paraguay, Argentina (Formosa, Corrientes)

USA (introduced to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina)

Type locality: Cayenne, French Guiana; Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay.  
TypesHolotype: unlocated
Holotype: ZFMK 89199, paratypes in ZFMK; originally Zoogeographical Collection of the University of the Saarland (ZCUS) at Saarbriicken which was transferred to ZFMK in 2010 [buzioensis]
Holotype: ZFMK 89193, paratypes in ZFMK; originall ZCUS but transferred to ZFMK in 2010 [sebastiani] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Salvator is the only genus of Teiidae with the combination of two loreals, smooth ventrals, and a subcylindrical tail with two divided caudal annuli alternating with complete annuli. Unlike the superficially similar genus Tupinambis (characters in parentheses), Salvator also has a round pupil (reniform), complete row of lateral supraocular granules (absent), an incomplete or absent intertympanic sulcus (complete), and keeled proximal subcaudals (smooth).

Some obvious differences in coloration also distinguish Salvator from Tupinambis. In Salvator, the dorsolateral stripe starts on the posterior supraciliary and extends to a paravertebral position on the body where it is mostly broken. In contrast, the dorsolateral stripe of Tupinambis starts at the same location on the supraciliary but remains in the dorsolateral position. As in Salvator, the stripe is difficult to see and broken in most species, but it is distinct in T. quadrilineatus. In Salvator, the upper lateral stripe is distinct, starts below the eye, and extends (often broken) to a point above the leg as in Kentropyx. In contrast, the upper lateral stripe of Tupinambis is very indistinct or absent, and it is not present on the flanks except in T. quadrilineatus. Nonetheless, even in T. quadrilineatus the stripe is broken and extends to the groin rather than above the leg as it does in Salvator. Finally, juvenile Salvator have white spots on the thighs and a bright green (S. merianae) or somewhat olivaceous (S. rufescens) color on the head, whereas juvenile Tupinambis lack white spots, basically resemble adults, and do not exhibit an ontogenetic change in dorsal head coloration (Harvey et al. 2012).
CommentType species: Salvator merianae is the type species of the genus Salvator Duméril and Bibron 1839.

Synonymy: Presch (1973) referred most specimens of T. merianae to T. rufescens. Avila-Pires (1995) rejected Presch’s (1973) results and redescribed T. merianae.

Distribution: Due to confusion in nomenclature there are still wrong ranges given in many sources. For a discussion see Avila-Pires (1995). In São Paulo fide Abrão Gomes da Silva Filho (27. Oct 2015; see also link). 
EtymologyNamed after Anna Maria Sibylla Graff, nee Merian (1647-1717), who was born in Frankfurt into a Swiss family and lived most of her life in Germany, then in the Netherlands.

Etymology (genus): Salvator is a masculine Latin noun in the nominative singular. In a somewhat florid footnote to their new name, Duméril and Bibron (1839) explain that “Salvator” was at the time a name frequently used for Jesus Christ in hymns of the Christian Church. The name was no doubt inspired by the common name “Sauvegardes,” meaning protector or savior in French and used by Cuvier and his contemporaries, especially in popular literature. 
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