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Scincella badenensis NGUYEN, NGUYEN, NGUYEN & MURPHY, 2019

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Baden ground skink
Vietnamese: Thằn lằn cổ bà đen, locally “Rắn mối bà đen” 
SynonymScincella badenensis NGUYEN, NGUYEN, NGUYEN & MURPHY 2019: 278 
DistributionVietnam (Tay Ninh)

Type locality: Ba Den Mountain, Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam; coordinates 11°22’01.6” N, 106°10’26.4” E; elevation 74 m a.s.l.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. ITBCZ 5966, adult male, collected by Sang N. Nguyen and Vu D.H. Nguyen, on 25 June 2017 (Figs. 3&4).
Paratypes. Six specimens, also collected from Ba Den Mountain by Sang N. Nguyen and Vu D.H. Nguyen: ITBCZ 5878, adult male (Figs. 5A&B) and ITBCZ 5879, gravid female (Fig. 5I), collected on 24 March 2017, coor- dinates 11°22’14.5” N, 106°10’45.3” E, elevation 130 m a.s.l.; ITBCZ 5965 (Figs. 5C&D) and ITBCZ 5967 (Figs. 5E&F), adult males, same data as the holotype; ITBCZ 5993, gravid female (Fig. 5J), collected on 25 June 2017, coordinates 11°22’11.1” N, 106°09’58.9” E, elevation 254 m a.s.l.; and ITBCZ 6262, adult male (Figs. 5G&H), collected on 22 January 2018, coordinates 11°22’41.9” N, 106°10’69.3” E, elevation 810 m a.s.l. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Scincella badenensis sp. nov. is distinguished from all of its congeners by a combination of the following morphological characters: medium size in adults (SVL up to 64.4 mm); toes reach to fingers when limbs adpressed; 32–36 smooth midbody scale rows; dorsal scales not enlarged; 67–71 paravertebral scales; 68–74 ventral scale rows; four supraoculars; prefrontals in broad contact with one another; two loreal scales; seven, rarely eight, supralabials, the fifth, rarely sixth, below the center of the eye; two anterior and two or three posterior enlarged temporal scales; tympanum deeply sunk, no auricular lobules; smooth lamellae beneath finger IV and toe IV 10–11 and 18–20, respectively; two enlarged precloacal scales; hemipenes smooth, short, symmetrical, and forked near the tip, each lobe ended with a small papilla; no dorsal pattern in male; female with black interruptive vertebral line.

Comparisons: Scincella badenensis sp. nov. differs morphologically from its Asian congeners as follows: from S. apraefronta- lis by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 18), dorsal scales not enlarged (vs. enlarged—distinctly larger than lateral scales [Smith 1935]), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 8–9), and presence (vs. absence) of prefrontal (Nguyen et al. 2010a); from S. barbouri (Stejneger, 1925) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26–28), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17), and fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 4–5) (Stejneger 1925; Ouboter 1986); from S. boettgeri (van Denburgh, 1912) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 28–30, rarely 32), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–16), and fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 2–5) (van Denburgh 1912; Ouboter 1986); from S. capitanea Ouboter, 1986 by having more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3–4), and two (vs. one) anterior temporal (Ouboter 1986); from S. darevskii by having a smaller adult size (maximum SVL = 64.4 mm vs. 88.6), more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 28), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3), and absence (vs. presence) of auricular lobules (Nguyen et al. 2010); from S. devorator by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 28–30), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3), and prefrontals in broad contact (vs. separated) (Darevsky et al. 2004; Nguyen et al. 2011); from S. doriae by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3–4), and absence (vs. presence) of transversely en- larged subcaudals (Boulenger 1887; Smith 1935; Taylor 1963; Bourret 2009); from S. formosensis (van Denburgh, 1912) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26–28, rarely 30) and more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 14–17) (van Denburgh 1912); from S. huanrenensis Zhao & Huang, 1982 by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26–28), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 13–16), and more dorsal scale rows between dorsolat- eral bands (10 vs. 6) (Zhao & Huang 1982; Chen et al. 2001); from S. macrotis (Steindachner) by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 2), and absence (vs. presence) of transversely enlarged subcau- dals (Smith 1935); from S. melanosticta by having nuchal scales (one pair, rarely absent vs. absence of nuchal), two (vs. one) anterior temporal, absence (vs. presence) of numerous black dots on dorsum on both sides of midline, and short (vs. long) hemipenes with (vs. without) two terminal papillae (Smith 1935; Taylor 1963; Bourret 2009; Neang et al. 2018); from S. modesta (Gunther) by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26–30), and more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 10–15) (Smith 1935); from S. monticola by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 22–26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 10–13), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3–4), and two (vs. one) anterior nuchal (Schmidt 1927; Neang et al. 2018); from S. nigrofasciata Neang, Chan & Poyarkov, 2018 by having short (vs. long) hemipenes with (vs. without) two terminal papillae and absence (vs. presence) of vertebral line in male (Neang et al. 2018); from S. ochracea by having fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3), absence (vs. 2–4) of auricular lobules, more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral lines (10 vs. 8); supralabi- als 5&6 (vs. SL 5) below the eye, and absence (vs. presence) of transversely enlarged subcaudals (Bourret 2009; Neang et al. 2018); from S. potanini (Gunther, 1896) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 27), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3), and more supraciliars (8–9 vs. 7) (Gunther 1896); from S. przewalskii (Bedriaga) by hav- ing more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 17), more supralabials (7 vs. 6), and more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral lines (10 vs. 6) (Wang & Zhao 1986); from S. punctatolineata (Boulenger) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 24–26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 12–14), and prefrontals in broad contact (vs. separated) (Smith 1935); from S. rara by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3), more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 24), and a single (vs. double) row of lamellae beneath toes and figures II–IV (Darevsky & Orlov 1997); from S. reevesii by having more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral bands (10 vs. 8), absence (vs. presence) of slightly enlarged transversal subcaudals, and short (vs. long) hemipenes with (vs. without) two terminal papillae (Smith 1935; Bourret 2009; Neang et al. 2018); from S. rufocaudata by having more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17), prefrontals in broad contact (vs. separated), and short (vs. long) hemipenes with (vs. without) two terminal papillae (Darevsky & Nguyen 1983; Neang et al. 2018; our data); from S. rupicola by having more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral bands (10 vs. 8), absence (vs. presence) of vertebral black line in male, and short (vs. long) hemipenes with (vs. without) two terminal papillae (Smith 1935; Taylor 1963; Neang et al. 2018); from S. schmidti (Barbour, 1927) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 11), and adpressed limbs overlapping (vs. separated) (Barbour 1927); from S. tsinlingen- sis (Hu & Zhao) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26–30), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 11–16), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 2–5), and more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral bands (10 vs. 8) (Ouboter 1986; Inger et al. 1990); from S. vandenburghi (Schmidt, 1927) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 28) and more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 12) (Schmidt 1927); and from S. victoriana (Shreve) by having more midbody scale rows (32–36 vs. 26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15), fewer nuchal pairs (0–1 vs. 3), and smooth (vs. keeled) scales on dorsum and tail (Ouboter 1986). 
CommentSexual dimorphism. Males are larger than females (SVL to 64.4 mm vs. 53.8 mm) and have pure dorsum (without vertebral line or dorsal dots) as well as a pale dorsolateral band formed by sparse black blotches while females have interruptive black vertebral line and bold and dense dorsolateral band.

Habitat: All specimens were collected in rocky areas with rotting leaves, elevations between 74 m and 810 m a.s.l. in both dry and wet seasons. Scincella badenensis sp. nov. was usually observed to be active in daytime on rocky walls (approx. 2 m height) or on surface of rotting leaf layer in caves or between rocks.

Sympatry: Sphenomorphus maculatus (Blyth), Lygosoma bowringii (Gunther), Eutropis multifasciata (Kuhl), and Lipinia vittigera (Boulenger). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet badenensis is a toponym derived from the Ba Den Mountain where the new species was discovered. 
References
  • NGUYEN, SANG NGOC; VU DANG HOANG NGUYEN, LUAN THANH NGUYEN, ROBERT W. MURPHY 2019. A new skink of the genus Scincella Mittleman, 1950 (Squamata: Scincidae) from Ba Den Mountain, Tay Ninh Province, southern Vietnam. Zootaxa 4648 (2): 273-286 - get paper here
 
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