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Trachylepis laevigata (PETERS, 1869)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Mabuyinae (Mabuyini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Variable skink 
SynonymEuprepes (Mabuya) laevigatus PETERS 1869: 434
Trachylepis laevigata — WEINELL & BAUER 2017 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Limpopo: Waterberg Massif)

Type locality: "Gerlachshoop" [northern Limpopo Province, South Africa, 25.2° S, 29.4° E]  
TypesSynype: ZMB 6224 
DiagnosisDescription: A medium-sized skink with fully developed, pentadactyl limbs; tricarinate dorsal scales; smooth ventral scales; 32 scale rows around midbody; keeled and spinose lamellae beneath fingers and toes; scales on palms and soles spinose; 19–21 lamellae beneath the fourth toe; supranasals in contact; parietals in contact; prefrontals separated; one pair of enlarged nuchal scales; ear opening vertically ovoid and smaller than the eye; three subtriangular auricular scales (shorter than the diameter of ear) extend posteriorly from the anterior margin of the ear; seven thin, dark longitudinal stripes begin within five scale rows behind the nuchal scales and extend posteriorly to the base of the tail (Weinell & Bauer 2017).

Comparisons: Within its range, this species is most likely to be confused with Trachylepis varia or Trachylepis damarana, but differs from these species primarily in color pattern. The presence of dark longitudinal dorsal stripes beginning within five scale rows behind the nuchal scales and extending onto the base of the tail is characteristic of T. laevigata but not T. varia or T. damarana (Weinell & Bauer 2017). 
CommentSynonymy: has been considered as a synonym of T. varia by most previous authors but resurrected by WEINELL & BAUER 2017.

Distribution: for a map see Stephens et al. 2022: Fig. 2 and Fig. 5. 
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1869. Über neue Gattungen und neue oder weniger bekannte Arten von Amphibien (Eremias, Dicrodon, Euprepes, Lygosoma, Typhlops, Eryx, Rhynchonyx, Elapomorphus, Achalinus, Coronella, Dromicus, Xenopholis, Anoplodipsas, Spilotes, Tropidonotus). Monatsber. k. preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1869: 432-447 - 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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