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Tachygyia microlepis (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1839)

IUCN Red List - Tachygyia microlepis - Extinct, EX

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymEumeces microlepis DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 659
Otosaurus microlepis — GRAY [1845?]: 93
Liosoma microlepis — FITZINGER 1843: 22
Lygosoma microlepis — BOULENGER 1887: 301
Riopa (Eugongylus) microlepis — SMITH 1937: 229
Tachygyia [sic] microlepis — MITTLEMAN 1952
Tachygia [sic] microlepis — GREER 1974: 14
Eugongylus microlepis — BÖHME 1976
Tachygyia [sic] microlepis — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995 
DistributionTonga Islands, Friendly Islands (fide SMITH 1937); Tongatabu (fide BOULENGER 1887).

Type locality: Tongatabou  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 2919 and MNHN-RA 5493, collected by Quoy & Gaimard. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): “Differs essentially from Riopa as follows: lower eyelid scaly, lacking a more or less transparent or translucent disc; frontoparietals united, interparietal reduced; limbs very robust and long, broadly overlapping when appressed” (MITTLEMAN (1952)

Diagnosis (genus): “Large (snout-vent length up to 174 mm), terrestrial skinks with supranasals, scaly lower eyelids, fused frontoparietals, and peg-like teeth” (Greer 1974: 14). 
CommentConservation: Apparently extinct (Ineich and Zug 1996). The first and only record of this Tongan lizard is from the early nineteenth-century report of the L’Astrolabe expedition (Dumont d’Urville 1832) when they were discovered.

Distribution: Erroneously reported from New Zealand.

Synonymy partly after BOULENGER 1887.

Type species: Eumeces microlepis is the type species of the genus Tachygyia MITTLEMAN 1952.

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
  • Adler,G.H.; Austin,C.C. & Dudley,R. 1995. Dispersal and speciation of skinks among archipelagos in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Evolutionary Ecology 9: 529-541 - get paper here
  • Böhme,W. 1976. Über die Gattung Eugongylus Fitzinger, mit Beschreibung einer neuen Art (Reptilia: Scincidae). Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 27: 245-251 - 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
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Fitzinger, L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel, Wien: 106 pp. - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Ineich, Ivan; Zug, George R. 1996. Tachygyia, the giant Tongan skink: extinct or extant? Cryptozoology 12: 30-35
  • 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
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
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