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Scincella baraensis NGUYEN, NGUYEN, NGUYEN & MURPHY, 2020

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Bara ground skink
Vietnamese: Thằn lằn cổ bà rá, Rắn mối bà rá 
SynonymScincella baraensis NGUYEN, NGUYEN, NGUYEN & MURPHY 2020 
DistributionVietnam (Binh Phuoc, possibly Dak Nong)

Type locality: Ba Ra Mountain, Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam; coordinates 11°49’42.0” N, 107°00’30.8” E; elevation 337 m elevation (Fig. 2 in Nguyen et al. 2020).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. ITBCZ 6534, adult male, collected by Sang N. Nguyen and Vu D.H. Nguyen, on 4 June 2018.
Paratypes. Two specimens, also collected from Ba Ra Mountain by Sang N. Nguyen and Vu D.H. Nguyen on the same date and coordinates as the holotype: ITBCZ 6535, adult male (Fig. 3A–C) and ITBCZ 6536, adult female (Fig. 3D in Nguyen et al. 2020). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Scincella baraensis sp. nov. is distinguished from all of its congeners by a combination of the following morphological characters: relatively small size in adults (SVL up to 49.2 mm); when limbs adpressed toes do not or just reach fingers; 30 smooth midbody scale rows; dorsal scales not enlarged; 66–70 paravertebrals; 64–66 ventral scale rows; 4 supraoculars; prefrontals in broad contact with or separated from one another; 2 loreals; 7 supralabials, the fifth and sixth below the center of the eye; 1 anterior and 2 posterior enlarged temporals; 3 or 3.5 pairs of nuchals; tympanum deeply sunk with weak auricular lobules on anterior margin of ear; 12 or 13 smooth lamellae beneath finger IV and 18–20 beneath toe IV; 2 enlarged precloacals; hemipenis smooth, short, unforked; dorsum with faint black dots (Nguyen et al. 2020).

Variation. Paratype ITBCZ 6535 has supraoculars 3 and 4 incompletely fused on both sides, separated by a suture that is about one third of their width. Supraoculars 1 and 2 incompletely separated from each other on right side. Paratype 6536 with prefrontals separated from each other. Table 3 summarizes variation in size and scalation of the type series (Nguyen et al. 2020).

Sexual dimorphism. Males have lower part of cheek, body, limbs, and tail yellow to orange while these parts in female are cream. Fingers and toes not touching in female when limbs adpressed (Nguyen et al. 2020).

Comparisons. Scincella baraensis sp. nov. differs morphologically from its Asian congeners as follows: from S. apraefrontalis by having more midbody scale rows (30 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. badenensis by having fewer midbody scale rows (30 vs. 32–36), more nuchal pairs (3–3.5 vs. 0–1), fewer temporals (1+2 vs. 2+3), and unforked (vs. forked) hemipenis (Nguyen et a. 2019); from S. barbouri (Stejneger) by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 26–28), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17), and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (Stejneger 1925; Ouboter 1986); from S. boettgeri (van Denburgh) by having more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–16) and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (van Denburgh 1912; Ouboter 1986); from S. capitanea Ouboter by having more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17) and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (Ouboter 1986); from S. darevskii by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 28), more paravertebral scale rows (66–70 vs. 62), and fewer supraoculars (4 vs. 5) (Nguyen et al. 2010); from S. devorator by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (Darevsky et al. 2004; Nguyen et al. 2011); from S. doriae by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, more dorsal scale rows on back (8 vs. 6), presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules, and absence (vs. presence) of transversely enlarged subcaudals (Boulenger 1887; Smith 1935; Taylor 1963; Bourret 2009); from S. formosensis (van Denburgh) by having by having more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17) and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (van Denburgh 1912; Ouboter 1986); from S. huanrenensis Zhao & Huang by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 26–28), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 13–16), and fewer ventral scale rows (64–66 vs. 75–89) (Zhao & Huang 1982; Chen et al. 2001); from S. macrotis (Steindachner) by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules, and absence (vs. presence) of transversely enlarged subcaudals (Smith 1935); from S. melanosticta by having nuchal scales (3 or 3.5 pair vs. 0), fewer midbody scale rows (30 vs. 34–38), and short and unforked (vs. long and deeply forked) hemipenis (Smith 1935; Taylor 1963; Bourret 2009; Neang et al. 2018); from S. modesta (Gunther) by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 10–15), and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (Smith 1935); from S. monticola by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 22–26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 10–13), more paravertebrals and ventrals (66–70 and 64–66 vs. 52–59 and 52–58, respectively), and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (Schmidt 1927; Neang et al. 2018); from S. nigrofasciata Neang, Chan & Poyarkov by having fewer midbody scale rows (30 vs. 32–33), more nuchal scales (3 or 3.5 pair vs. 0 or 1), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15–17), short and unforked (vs. long and deeply forked) hemipenis, and fewer enlarged anterior temporal (1 vs. 2) (Neang et al. 2018); from S. ochracea by having fewer enlarged anterior temporal (1 vs. 2), more lamellae beneath finger IV (12 or 13 vs. 9–11), more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral lines (8 vs. 6), and absence (vs. presence) of dark vertebral stripe (Bourret 2009; Pham et al. 2015; Neang et al. 2018); from S. potanini (Gunther) by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 27), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 17), and presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules (Gunther 1896); from S. przewalskii (Bedriaga) by having fewer midbody scale rows (30 vs. 22–34), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 17), more supralabials (7 vs. 6), and more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral lines (8 vs. 6) (Wang & Zhao 1986); from S. punctatolineata (Boulenger) by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 24–26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 12–14), and presence (vs. absence) of nuchals (Smith 1935); from S. rara by having small (vs. enlarged) dorsal scales, more midbody scale rows (30 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 nuchals (3 or 3.5 pairs vs. 0 or 1), presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules, short and unforked (vs. long and deeply forked) hemipenis, and absence (vs. presence) of slightly enlarged transversal subcaudals (Smith 1935; Bourret 2009; Neang et al. 2018); from S. rufocaudata by having short and unforked (vs. long and deeply forked) hemipenis, fewer midbody scale rows (30 vs. 32–34), and one (vs. two) anterior temporal (Darevsky & Nguyen 1983; Neang et al. 2018); from S. rupicola by having fewer midbody scale rows (30 vs. 34–36), more nuchals (3 or 3.5 pairs vs. 0 or 1), short and unforked (vs. long and deeply forked) hemipenis, and one (vs. two) anterior temporal (Smith 1935; Taylor 1963; Neang et al. 2018); from S. schmidti (Barbour) by having more midbody scale rows (30 vs. 26), presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules, and more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 11) (Barbour 1927); from S. tsinlingensis (Hu & Zhao) by having more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 11–16), presence (vs. absence) of weak auricular lobules, and more dorsal scale rows between dorsolateral bands (8 vs. 6) (Ouboter 1986; Inger et al. 1990); from S. vandenburghi (Schmidt) by having more midbody scale rows (30 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 (30 vs. 26), more lamellae beneath toe IV (18–20 vs. 15), and smooth (vs. keeled) scales on dorsum and tail (Ouboter 1986, Nguyen et al. 2020). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet baraensis is a toponym derived from the Ba Ra Mountain where the new species was discovered. 
References
  • NGUYEN, S. N., NGUYEN, V. D. H., NGUYEN, L. T., & MURPHY, R. W. 2020. A new skink of the genus Scincella Mittleman, 1950 (Squamata: Scincidae) from southern Vietnam. Zootaxa 4868 (3): 423-434 - get paper here
 
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