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Saproscincus tetradactylus (GREER & KLUGE, 1980)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Four-fingered Shadeskink, Four-toed Litter-skink 
SynonymLampropholis tetradactyla GREER & KLUGE 1980
Saproscincus tetradactylus — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1983
Lampropholis tetradactyla — COGGER 1983
Saproscincus tetradactyla — COGGER 2000: 575
Saproscincus tetradactylus — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: vicinity of Smoko Creek at the Kennedy-Kirrama road, Kirrama State Forest, NE Qld.  
TypesHolotype: QM J29853 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS. The new species is a member of the genus Lampropholis (sensu Greer 1974),but it is easily distinguished from all other known members of this genus in having only four fingers instead of five and in being relatively small (maximum SVL = 33 mm versus 41 mm for the next largest form - an undescribed species from north-eastern Queensland most closely related to L. delicata).

DESCRIPTION. In general aspect, tetradactyla is a small light to dark russet brown skink with a slightly truncated, depressed snout; slender front and rear legs, and a tail that is only slightly longer than the head and body.
Rostral very much wider than long, almost entirely exposed in dorsal view, forming a very broad, but shallow, anteriorly curving suture with frontonasal; frontonasal wider than long; prefrontals large, but separated medially; frontal considerably longer than wide, narrowing sharply posteriorly; supraoculars four, first two in contact with frontal; frontoparietals distinct, each slightly longer than interparietal; interparietal distinct, with a parietal eye spot just posterior of centre; parietals in broad contact behind interparietal; each parietal bordered along its posterolateral edge by a relatively wide anterior nuchal and two temporals, the anteriormost of which is identifiable as an upper secondary.
Nasal trapezoidal to rectangular in shape, widely separated from its fellow; nostril centrally located in nasal; anterior loreal generally deeper than long and touching supralabials but sometimes restricted to a small dorsal crescent-shaped scale and separated from supralabials or, rarely, totally absent; posterior loreal large; suboculars small, in a complete series below eye; supraciliaries 7-8 (mode = 7); lower eyelid scaly and moveable with a translucent window dorsally and small, equal sized, scales elsewhere; primary temporal single, secondary temporals two, subequal; supralabials six, fourth suboculay; infralabials six, first very small; mental wider than long; postmental about as long as wide, in contact with first two infralabials on each side and followed by a pair of chin scales in medial contact; external ear opening small, slightly oval in shape, the long axis dipping slightly anteriorly; auditory meatus larger than external ear opening. (Fig. 1).
Botly scales smooth, in 22 - 26 (x= 23.1, N = 55) longitudinal rows at midbody; paravertebral scales equal to or slightly wider than the more lateral scales at midbody but widening appreciably, but not abruptly, over the nuchal area, 48 - 54 (x= 50.9, N = 48) when counted between the posterior edges of the thighs and the parietals: medial pair of preanals wider than more lateral preanals; medial row of subcaudal. scales considerably wider than more lateral rows;
supradigital scales in a single row; subdigital lamellae with a medial groove, 15-18 (z= 16.3, N = 53) on fourth toe.
Snout-vent length 17-33 mm; tail length 1.08-1.34 times SVL (N = 27); front leg .24 - .30 times and rear leg .33 - .38 times SVL (N = 15), respectively; front leg tetradactyl, rear leg pentadactyl.

Color (in life): most large specimens have a lemon yellow wash over the venter which extends from the level of the front legs posteriorly onto the tail. This colour is usually most intense over the posterior part of the body, the undersides of the rear legs and over the base of the tail. In a sample of 38 specimens, all males of SVL 27 mm and larger had yellow venters (N = 14) and most, but not all, females of SVL 29 mm and larger had yellow venters (N = 12). 
  • 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; Kluge A G 1980. A new species of Lampropholis (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from the rainforests of northeastern Queensland. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology University of Michigan (No. 691) 1980: 1-12 - get paper here
  • Muñoz, M. M., Langham, G. M., Brandley, M. C., Rosauer, D. F., Williams, S. E. and Moritz, C. 2016. Basking behavior predicts the evolution of heat tolerance in Australian rainforest lizards. Evolution, 70: 2537–2549.doi:10.1111/evo.13064 - 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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