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Spondylurus spilonotus (WIEGMANN, 1837)

IUCN Red List - Spondylurus spilonotus - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Mabuyinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Greater Virgin Islands Skink 
SynonymEuprepes spilonotus WIEGMANN 1837: 135
Euprepes spilonotus — PETERS, 1864: 50
Eupr[epes] spilonotus — PETERS, 1871: 400
Euprepes (Mabuia) spilonotus — PETERS, 1876: 708 (part)
Euprepes spilonotus — GUNDLACH, 1881: 311 (part).
Mabuia sloanii — BOULENGER, 1887: 193 (part)
M[abuya] spilonotus — STEJNEGER, 1904: 609–10
Mabuya sloanii — BARBOUR, 1914: 355 (part)
Mabuya spilonota — BARBOUR, 1914: 355
Mabuya sloanii — SCHMIDT, 1928: 121 (part)
Mabuya sloanii — BARBOUR, 1930: 105 (part)
Mabuya mabouia — BARBOUR, 1935: 129 (part)
Mabuya mabouya sloanii — DUNN, 1936: 544 (part)
Mabuya mabouia — BARBOUR, 1937: 147 (part)
Mabuya sp. — GRANT, 1937: 512 (part)
Mabuya spilonotus — GRANT, 1940: 111
Mabuya spilonotus — MURRAY, 1949: 128
Mabuya spilonota — COCHRAN, 1961: 126
Mabuya spilonota — HORTON, 1973: 85
Mabuya mabouya sloanei — SCHWARTZ & THOMAS, 1975: 141 (part)
Mabuya mabouya sloanei — MACLEAN et al., 1977: 30 (part)
Mabuya mabouya sloanei — MACLEAN et al., 1977: 32 (part)
Mabuya mabouya sloanei — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON, 1988: 151 (part)
Mabuya mabouya sloanei — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON, 1991: 457 (part)
Mabuya bistriata — POWELL et al., 1996: 82 (part)
Mabuya sloanii — MAYER & LAZELL, 2000: 883 (part)
Mabuya sloanii — HENDERSON & POWELL, 2009: 293 (part)
Spondylurus spilonotus — HEDGES & CONN 2012: 207 
DistributionUS Virgin Islands (St. John, St. Thomas)

Type locality: not given; probably St. Thomas or St. John (see HEDGES & CONN 2012 for a discussion).  
TypesLectotype: ZMB 1240; Stejneger 1904 listed it incorrectly as ZMB 3785 and Dunn (1936) as “ZMB 3758", an error copied by several other authors. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Spondylurus spilonotus is characterized by (1) maximum SVL in males, 91.7 mm; (2) maximum SVL in females, 106.5 mm; (3) snout width, 2.74–3.05% SVL; (4) head length, 15.4–18.5% SVL; (5) head width, 12.0–13.9% SVL; (6) ear length, 1.76–2.05% SVL; (7) toe-IV length, 7.30–10.5% SVL; (8) prefrontals, two; (9) supraoculars, four; (10) supraciliaries, four; (11) frontoparietals, two; (12) supralabial below the eye, six; (13) nuchal rows, two (67%), three (33%); (14) dorsals, 62–64; (15) ventrals, 63–68; (16) dorsals + ventrals, 125–132; (17) midbody scale rows, 34; (18) finger-IV lamellae, 13–15; (19) toe-IV lamellae, 16–18; (20) finger-IV + toe-IV lamellae, 29–33; (21) supranasal contact, N; (22) prefrontal contact, N; (23) supraocular-1/frontal contact, Y (17%), N (83%); (24) parietal contact, Y; (25) pale middorsal stripe, Y; (26) dark dorsolateral stripe, Y; (27) dark lateral stripe, Y; (28) pale lateral stripe, Y; and (29) palms and soles, pale (Tables 3–5).

Within the Genus Spondylurus, S. spilonotus is distinguished from S. anegadae sp. nov., S. culebrae sp. nov., S. haitiae sp. nov., S. macleani, S. martinae sp. nov., S. monae sp. nov., S. monitae sp. nov., S. semitaeniatus, and S. sloanii by having a lower dark dorsolateral stripe width/middorsal stripe width ratio (0.287–0.464 versus 0.500– 3.79 in those other species; Fig. 79). It differs from S. anegadae sp. nov., S. caicosae sp. nov., S. fulgidus, S. haitiae sp. nov., S. lineolatus, S. nitidus, and S. turksae sp. nov. by having a higher number of midbody scale rows (34 versus 26–33 in those other species). It is separated from S. anegadae sp. nov., S. macleani, S. powelli sp. nov., S. sloanii and S. turksae sp. nov. by having a distinct pale lateral stripe (absent or barely evident in those species). From S. fulgidus, it differs by having a lower number of supraciliaries (four versus five in S. fulgidus). It differs from S. lineolatus by having a larger head (head length 15.4–18.5% SVL versus 12.9–14.4% in S. lineolatus) and four major dark stripes (lateral and dorsolateral) instead of 10 dark pin stripes. From S. monitae sp. nov., it differs by having a higher number of supralabials (supralabial six below the eye versus supralabial five in S. monitae sp. nov.) and in lacking the guitar-shaped dark dorsolateral stripe pattern as on the parietal scales of S. monitae sp. nov. It differs from S. monae sp. nov. by having a higher number of midbody scale rows (34 versus 28–33 in 91% of specimens belonging to S. monae sp. nov.). From S. anegadae sp. nov., it differs in lacking supranasal contact (versus contact in that species) and is much larger (maximum SVL, 107 mm versus 70.4 mm in S. anegadae sp. nov.).
Spondylurus spilonotus most closely resembles S. magnacruzae sp. nov., which occurs (or occurred) on St. Croix. Both species reach 107 mm SVL in the relatively small samples available, making them the largest species in the Genus Spondylurus. They also have a similar general pattern consisting of narrow dark dorsolateral stripes in the anterior portion of the body. However, S. spilonotus has more dorsal body spots (52–99 versus 3–37), a shorter supraciliary-1 scale (supraciliary-1/supraciliary-2 length ratio 0.35–0.50 versus 0.52–0.69; Fig. 69A), and a larger ear (ear length 1.76–2.05% SVL versus 1.49–1.72%; Fig. 69B). Also, the stripe pattern of S. spilonotus appears faded and with more irregular edges to the stripes, compared with that of S. magnacruzae sp. nov. (bold stripes with straighter edges), features not obviously related to age of the specimens or differences in preservation [HEDGES & CONN 2012].
CommentSynonymy: HEDGES & CONN 2012

Distribution: erroneously reported from Jamaica by several authors.

Conservation: Critically Endangered and possibly extinct (CR A2ace) (Adkins-Giese et al. 2014). 
EtymologyNot provided in the original description. However, the species name (spilonotus) is a Latinized noun in the nominative singular derived from the Greek nouns spilos (spot, stain) and notos (the back), referring to the distinctly spotted dorsal pattern of this species. When combined with Mabuya (feminine) instead of Euprepes or Spondylurus (masculine), some authors (Barbour 1914; Cochran 1961; Horton 1973) converted the gender of the species name to feminine, whereas others retained it as masculine. As it is a noun and not an adjective, it retains the original (masculine) spelling, regardless of the gender of the genus [HEDGES & CONN 2012]. 
  • Barbour, T. 1935. A second list of Antillean reptiles and amphibians. Zoologica 19 (3): 77-141 - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas 1914. A Contribution to the Zoögeography of the West Indies, with Especial Reference to Amphibians and Reptiles. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy 44 (2): 205-359 - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas 1930. A list of Antillean Reptiles and Amphibians. Zoologica 11 (4): 61-116 - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas 1930. Some faunistic changes in the Lesser Antilles. Proc. New England Zool. Club 11: 73-85
  • Barbour,T. 1937. Third list of Antillean reptiles and amphibians. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 82 (2): 77-166 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • Cochran, Doris M. 1961. Type specimens of reptiles and amphibians in the United States National Museum. [type catalogue] Bull. US Natl. Mus. (220): xvi + 291 pp. - get paper here
  • Grant, C. 1937. Herpetological notes with new species from the American and British Virgin Islands, 1936. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 21: 503-522.
  • Hedges, S.B. & Conn, C.E. 2012. A new skink fauna from Caribbean islands (Squamata, Mabuyidae, Mabuyinae). Zootaxa 3288: 1–244
  • Henderson, Robert W. & Robert Powell 2009. NATURAL HISTORY OF WEST INDIAN REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS. University Press of Florida, 576 pp.
  • HORTON, D. R. 1973. Evolution in the genus Mabuya (Lacertilia, Scincidae). Unpubl. Ph.D.Thesis, University of New England, Armidale, Australia
  • Maclean, William P. 1977. Island lists of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (40): 1-47 - get paper here
  • Mayer,G.C. & Lazell,J. 2000. A new species of Mabuya (Sauria: Scincidae) from the British Virgin Islands. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 113 (4): 871-886 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1871. Über eine von Hrn. Dr. Robert Abendroth in dem Hochlande von Peru gemachte Sammlung von Amphibien, welche derselbe dem Königl. zoologischen Museum geschenkt hat. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1871 (August): 397-404 - get paper here
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1864. Die Eidechsenfamilie der Scincoiden, insbesondere über die Schneider'schen, Wiegmann'schen und neue Arten des zoologischen Museums. Monatsber. K. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1864: 44-58 - get paper here
  • Powell, R., R. W. Henderson, K. Adler, And H. A. Dundee. 1996. An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. In R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (eds.), Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz, p.51-93. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca (New York). Contributions to Herpetology, volume 12. [book review in Salamandra 36 (2): 136]
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1988. West Indian Amphibian and Reptiles: A Checklist. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contr. Biol. Geol. No. 74: 264 pp.
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Schwartz, A. and R. Thomas. 1975. A checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Mus. Nat. Hist. Spec. Publ. 1:1-216. - get paper here
  • Stejneger, L. 1904. The herpetology of Porto Rico. Rept. United States Natl. Mus. 1902: 549-724.
  • Wiegmann, A. F. A. 1837. Herpetologische Notizen. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 3: 123-136 - get paper here
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