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Sphenomorphus senja GRISMER & QUAH, 2015

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymSphenomorphus senja GRISMER & QUAH 2015 
DistributionWest Malaysia (Pahang, Perak)

Type locality: Gunung Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, West Malaysia (04°31.105 N 101°22.571 E; at 1811m)  
TypesHolotype: LSUHC 11688, Adult male, collected on 26 April 2014 by Evan S. H. Quah.
Paratype. BM 1911.12.5.10. As noted by Boulenger (1912) the specimen was collected by Mr. J. N. Sheffield at 6,900 feet on Gunong Grah [=Gunung Gerah] in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, Perak during August 1905. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Adults reaching 65.0 mm SVL; body slender, elongate; limbs separated when adpressed; 32 smooth, midbody scale rows; 72 or 73 paravertebral scales; 68 ventral scale rows; four supraoculars; prefrontals in narrow contact or slightly separated; two loreal scales; 13–17 smooth, lamellae beneath Toe IV; enlarged, preanal scales; dorsal body bands absent; numerous dark markings on back and flanks.

Comparisons. Sphenomorphus senja sp. nov. is most similar to Sphenomorphus malayanus of Gunung Singgalang in West Sumatra but can be separated from it by having a larger SVL (60.0–65 mm versus 53 mm, assuming the S. malayanus specimen is an adult); a deep, as opposed to a shallow tympanum; 72 or 73 versus 76 paravertebral scales; eight or nine superciliary scales as opposed to 10; and the posteriromost superciliary scale being large as opposed to small. The anterior subcaudal region is orange in S. senja sp. nov. and in S. malayanus is reported to be yellowish gray (“giallo suducio”, Doria [1888]) or “whitish” (de Rooij, 1915). Unfortunately the holotype of S. malayanus could not be located for direct examination (David Gower in litt. 2014). The only other species in Peninsular Malaysia with which S. senja sp. nov. might be confused with is S. cameronicus (Smith) which occurs at lower elevations (1500 m) in Cameron Highlands (Grismer 2011). We examined three specimens of S. cameronicus (LSUHC 9738, 9819–20) from its type locality at Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands and find that S. senja sp. nov. differs from it in that the adpressed limbs do not overlap as opposed to overlapping slightly; having 32 midbody scale rows as opposed to 34–38; having 13–17 as opposed to 20 or 21 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe; having vermillion colored flanks in breeding males as opposed to beige flanks in breeding males (Grismer 2011); having yellow as opposed to beige pectoral and abdomen regions; and that the anterior two-thirds of the subcaudal region is orange as opposed to beige. 
CommentSimilar species: Sphenomorphus malayanum 
EtymologyThe specific epithet senja is the Malay word for “twilight” or “dusk” at which time the sky above Gunung Brinchang turns vermillion orange, matching the color on the flanks of Sphenomoprhus senja sp. nov. 
  • GRISMER, L. LEE; & EVAN S. H. QUAH 2019. An updated and annotated checklist of the lizards of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and their adjacent archipelagos. Zootaxa 4545 (2): 230–248 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L.L. & Quah, E.S.H. 2015. The Rediscovery of Sphenomorphus malayanus Doria, 1888 (Squamata: Scincidae) from the Titiwangsa Mountain Range of Peninsular Malaysia and its re-description as S. senja sp. nov. Zootaxa 3931 (1): 063–070 - get paper here
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