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Sphenomorphus capitolythos (SHEA & MICHELS, 2008)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymLygosoma [(Homolepida)] keiensis KOPSTEIN 1926: 86
L[ygosoma]. (Sph[enomorphus].) keiensis — BRONGERSMA 1942: 156
[Sphenomorphus] keiensis — GREER & PARKER 1967: 19
Sphenomorphus keiense — SCOTT et al., 1977: 12
Sphenomorphus keiense — WHITAKER et al. 1982: 47
Sphenomorphus keiense — WELCH et al. 1990
Sphenomorphus keiense — MONK et al. 1997: 435
Sphenomorphus capitolythos SHEA & MICHELS 2008 (nom. nov.) 
DistributionIndonesia (Maluku Tenggara, Kei Islands, Moluccas)

Type locality: “Elat, Gross-Kei” (Kopstein 1926: 86) [= Elat (or Banda Elat) on Kai Besar, Kepulauan Kai, Maluku Tenggara Province, Indonesia (5°39’S 132°39’E)]  
TypesHolotype: RMNH 5088, an ethanol-preserved specimen of undetermined sex, collected March 1923, by Dr Felix Kopstein. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized species of Sphenomorphus (SVL 81 mm) with short limbs, widely separated when adpressed. The combination of grooved subdigital lamellae, a scaly lower eyelid lacking a central window, four supraoculars, third pair of chin shields medially separated by three scales but in lateral contact with the infralabials, no postsupraocular scale, and a temporal region with no fragmentation or division of the last two supralabial scales, single primary temporal scale or upper and lower secondary temporal scales, and with the upper secondary temporal overlapping the lower secondary temporal, will diff erentiate this species from all other members of the Sphenomorphus group of lygosomine skinks (Greer, 1979a) in Indonesia, the New Guinea region, and Australia [from SHEA & MICHELS 2008]. 
CommentAbundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). This is one of the species called 'lost' and 'rediscovered' by Lindken et al. 2024. 
EtymologyCapitolythos is derived from caput (Latin for ‘head’) and lythos (Greek for ‘stone’), in reference to the two probable German compound words in the name Kopstein, German for head and stone respectively. This unconventional form of patronym was chosen because of the existence of Lygosoma emigrans kopsteini Brongersma (1942a). Felix Kopstein (born 4 June 1893 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary [Adler stated Austria, but at that time Austria was part of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy]; died 14 April 1939 in The Hague, the Netherlands), a physician and author of the last review of the Moluccan reptilian fauna (Adler, 1989).

The species emigrans is presently assigned to the genus Glaphyromorphus (Greer, 1990) but the subspecies has not been re-evaluated in subsequent studies of the genus in the Lesser Sundas (Auffenberg, 1980; Greer, 1990; Aplin et al., 1993), and has only been mentioned in a listing of Brongersma’s named taxa by Hoogmoed (1995) [from SHEA & MICHELS 2008]. 
  • Aplin K P; HOW R A. & BOEADI 1993. A New Species of the Glaphyromorphus-isolepis species group (Lacertilia Scincidae) From Sumba Island, Indonesia. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 16 (2): 235-242. - get paper here
  • Auffenberg W 1980. The herpetofauna of Komodo, with notes on adjacent areas. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum 25 (2): 39-156 - get paper here
  • Brongersma, L. D. 1942. On the arrangement of the scales on the dorsal surface of the digits in Lygosoma and allied genera. Zoologische Mededelingen 24 (1-2): 153-158 [1945 fide BAUER 1985] - get paper here
  • Greer A E 1990. The Glaphyromorphus isolepis species group (Lacertilia: Scincidae): diagnosis of the taxon and description of a new species from Timor. Journal of Herpetology 24 (4): 372-377 - get paper here
  • Greer,A.E. & Parker,F. 1967. A new scincid lizard from the northern Solomon Islands. Breviora (275): 1-20 - get paper here
  • Hoogmoed, M.S. 1995. In memoriam Prof. Dr Leo Daniel Brongersma (1907-1994). Zoologische Mededelingen 69: 177-201 - get paper here
  • Kopstein,P.F. 1926. Reptilien von den Molukken und den benachbarten Inseln. Zoologische Mededelingen 1: 71-112 - get paper here
  • Lindken T.; Anderson, C. V., Ariano-Sánchez, D., Barki, G., Biggs, C., Bowles, P., Chaitanya, R., Cronin, D. T., Jähnig, S. C., Jeschke, J. M., Kennerley, R. J., Lacher, T. E. Jr., Luedtke, J. A., Liu, C., Long, B., Mallon, D., Martin, G. M., Meiri, 2024. What factors influence the rediscovery of lost tetrapod species? Global Change Biology, 30: 1-18 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Monk, K.A., Y. De Fretes & G. Reksodiharjo-Lilley, 1997. The Ecology of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku. The Ecology of Indonesia Series, Vol. V. Periplus Editions, Hong Kong, i-xvii, 966 pp.
  • Shea, G.M.; J.P. Michels 2008. A replacement name for Sphenomorphus keiensis (Kopstein, 1926) from the southeastern Moluccas, Indonesia (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) with a redescription of the species. Zoologische Mededelingen 82: 737-747 - get paper here
  • Welch, K.R.G., Cooke, P.S., & Wright, A.S. 1990. Lizards of the Orient: a checklist. Robert E. Krieger Pub. Co., Malabar, FL 162 pp.
  • Whitaker, R.; Whitaker,Z. & Mills,D. 1982. Reptiles of Papua New Guinea. Wildlife in New Guinea (82/2): 1-53
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