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Sphenomorphus taiwanensis CHEN & LUE, 1987

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymSphenomorphus taiwanensis CHEN & LUE 1987 
DistributionC Taiwan

Type locality: Mt. Hohuan, Taiwan, 3200 m elevation (24° 8’ 27’’ N, 121° 16’ 40’’ E)  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: NTNUB (given as TNUB) 148801, adult female 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Body more or less slender; supranasal absent; prcfrontals widely separate or just in contact; 4 (rarely 3) pairs of third supraocular is very short. While S. boutengeri has more scales around the middle of the body (36-40 scales), no nuchal (rarely 1 pair), more lamellae under the fourth toe (22-27 lamellae), and with a patch of enlarged scales on the thigh. These characters are different from S. taiwanensis, which has 26-28 scales around the middle of the body, 4 pairs of nuchals, frontal in contact with anterior two supraoculars. Without any transparent disk on lower eyelid, S. taiwanensis can be 'separated easily from Scincella formosensls, It seems that D. smaragdina is very rare in Taiwan. We do not have the chance to examine any specimen of it, While Stejneger (1910) pointed out that D. smaragdina bears an enlarged scale on the heel, with 33 sub- digital lamellae beneath the fourth toe, frontal •in contact with anterior three supraoculars, 3 pairs of nuchals, and rather slender of fore and hind-legs. S. courcyanum has no nuchal plate, fewer lamellae (12-13 lamellae) beneath the fourth toe; S. helenae has 3 pairs of nuchals, 30 scales around the middle of the body. Both species can be distinguished easily from S. taiwanensis. The comparisons among these allied species are shown in Table 2. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Chen,S.H. & Lue,K.Y. 1987. A new species of skink, Sphenomorphus taiwanensis, from Taiwan (Sauria, Scincidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. (Acad. Sinica) 26: 115-121
  • Huang, SP., Kearley, R.E., Hung, KW. et al. 2020. Evaporative water loss simulation improves models’ prediction of habitat suitability for a high-elevation forest skink. Oecologia (2020) - get paper here
  • Huang, W.-S. 1997. Reproductive Cycle of the Skink, Sphenomorphus taiwanensis, in Central Taiwan Journal of Herpetology 31 (2): 287-290. - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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