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Trachylepis damarana (PETERS, 1870)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Mabuyinae (Mabuyini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Damara skink 
SynonymEuprepes damaranus PETERS 1870: 660
Mabuya varia damaranus — LOVERIDGE 1936: 69
Mabuya damarana — FITZSIMONS & BRAIN 1958
Trachylepis damarana — WEINELL & BAUER 2017 
DistributionNamibia, SE Angola, N/E Botswana, Zimbabwe, NE Republic of South Africa, W Mozambique

Type locality: "Damaraland" [NC Namibia]  
TypesLectotype: ZMB 6153; designated from syntypes ZMB 6153 and NRM 2149, by Weinell & Bauer 2017. 
DiagnosisDescription: A medium-sized skink (max. SVL 67.7 mm, CAS 248617) with fully developed, pentadactyl limbs; tricarinate dorsal scales; smooth ventral scales; lamellae beneath fingers and toes keeled and spinose; scales on palms and soles spinose; 19–26 lamellae beneath the fourth toe; 30–34 scale rows around midbody; 46–56 ventral + gular scales before the row of anal scales; supranasals usually in contact, rarely separated; parietals in contact or separated; prefrontals usually separated, rarely in slight contact; one pair of enlarged nuchal scales; ear opening vertically ovoid and smaller than the eye; 2–4 subtriangular auricular scales (shorter than the diameter of ear) extend posteriorly and usually slightly downwards from the anterior margin of the ear opening; ventral margin of the second loreal scale is much longer than the anterior margin (Weinell & Bauer 2017).

Comparisons: This species is most likely to be confused with Trachylepis varia sensu stricto, Trachylepis laevigata, Trachylepis variegata, and Trachylepis bayonii, but usually differs from these taxa in several ways. Trachylepis damarana is sympatric with T. varia in northeastern South Africa, western Mozambique, and possibly southern Botswana, where it can usually be distinguished from T. varia by having a relatively longer second loreal scale. Trachylepis laevigata has thin, dark longitudinal stripes between each of the medial six dorsal scale rows and these stripes begin within a few scales rows behind the nuchal scales, whereas in T. damarana, the first 10 dorsal scale rows behind the nuchal scales are uniformly colored and of the same color as the dorsal surface of the head. Trachylepis damarana differs from T. variegata in the position of the nostril, which is even with or posterior to the rostrolabial suture in T. damarana and is anterior to the rostrolabial suture in T. variegata; the nostrils are also situated more dorsally in T. variegata compared to T. damarana, which have the nostrils situated more laterally. Trachylepis damarana has keeled subdigital lamellae and paired frontoparietal scales, whereas T. bayonii has smooth or tuberculose subdigital lamellae and usually has a single frontoparietal scale (Weinell & Bauer 2017). 
CommentSynonymy: WEINELL & BAUER 2017 removed Euprepes (Mabuya) laevigatus PETERS 1869 from the synonymy of T. varia.

Distribution: see map in WEINELL & BAUER 2017 (Fig. 6), and Stephens et al. 2022: Fig. 2 and Fig. 5. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Bittencourt-Silva GB. 2019. Herpetological survey of western Zambia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13(2) [Special Section]: 1-28 (e181) - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1870. Förtekning pa de af J. Wahlberg i Damaralandet insamlade Reptilierna. Oefversigt Kongl.Vet. Akad. Förhandl. 26 (7): 657-662
  • Pietersen DW, Pietersen EW, Conradie W. 2017. Preliminary herpetological survey of Ngonye Falls and surrounding regions in south-western Zambia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 11(1) [Special Section]: 24–43 (e148 - get paper here
  • STEPHENS, KIRSTIN; GRAHAM J. ALEXANDER, BUYISILE G. MAKHUBO, NICOLAS S. TELFORD & KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY. 2022. Mistaken identity: challenges with specimen identification for morphologically conservative skinks (Trachylepis) leads to taxonomic error. African Journal of Herpetology 0(0): 1–18. - get paper here
  • Weinell, J.L., Bauer, A.M. 2017. Systematics and phylogeography of the widely distributed African skink Trachylepis varia species complex. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
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