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Trachylepis raymondlaurenti MARQUES, CERÍACO, BANDEIRA, PAUWELS & BAUER, 2019

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Mabuyinae (Mabuyini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Laurent’s Long Tailed Skink
P: Lagartixa de Cauda Longa de Laurent
F: Scinque à longue queue de Laurent 
SynonymTrachylepis raymondlaurenti MARQUES, CERÍACO, BANDEIRA, PAUWELS & BAUER 2019
Mabuya megalura — DE WITTE 1953: 107
Mabuya megalura subsp. — LAURENT 1964: 74
Trachylepis megalura — BROADLEY & COTTERILL 2004: 42 [partim]
Trachylepis cf. megalura — CERÍACO et al. 2016: 71
Trachylepis cf. megalura — CERÍACO et al. 2018: 423
Trachylepis cf. megalura — MARQUES et al. 2018: 264 
DistributionN Angola (Malanje, Lunda-Norte), SE Democratic Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), N Zambia

Type locality: Giant Sable Sanctuary of Cangandala National Park (-9.84606° N, 16.7223° E, WGS-84; elevation 1101 m above sea level), Malanje Province, Angola.  
TypesHolotype. CAS 258401, adult female collected by Mariana Marques, Luis Ceríaco, Suzana Bandeira, Edward Stanley and Jens Vindum on 17 September 2015. Paratypes. MD 5309, adult female collected in Alto Cuílo (-10.01667° N, 19.55° E, WGS-84; elevation 1101 m), Lunda Sul Province, Angola, by a local in June 1954; MCZ R-67627, adult female with the same collection data as the former; RBINS 2691 (formerly RBINS 6998), adult female collected in Lusinga (-8.933333° N, 27.2° E, WGS-84; elevation 1810 m), Upemba National Park, DRC, during the Mission G.-F. de Witte on 16 March 1947; RBINS 2692 (formerly RBINS 6999), adult male with locality data as for the former but collected on 9–17 April 1947; RBINS 2693 (formerly RBINS 7000), adult male with locality data as for RBINS 2691 but collected on 21 June–21 July 1947; RBINS 2694 (formerly RBINS 7001), adult male with the same locality data as for RBINS 2691 but collected in December 1947; RBINS 2695 (formerly RBINS 7002), adult female with the same locality data as for RBINS 2691 but collected in January 1948. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Trachylepis raymondlaurenti sp. nov. is readily distinguished from all other congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) slender body of medium size, SVL up to 79.3 mm; (2) long-tailed, up to 215.8 mm, greater than twice body length; (3) well-defined neck constriction; (4) color homogeneously greyish- brown dorsally, with some dark speckles on sides of tail; ventral surface with some scattered dark speckles near the flanks and under the tail; supralabials and infralabials dotted with white; no distinct longitudinal or transverse dorsal bands; (5) MSR 24–28, SAD 48–53, SAV 50–58; (6) KDS 0–3; (7) scales on palms of hands and soles of feet smooth; (8) supranasals separated; and (9) prefrontals separated.

Comparison with other species. Trachylepis raymondlaurenti sp. nov. differs from all congeners, with the exception of T. megalura and T. boulengeri, in being a slender skink with a well-marked neck, a very long tail (TL generally more than twice the SVL), and a low number of midbody scale rows (24–28) in comparison with the majority of Trachylepis species (Broadley 2000). Trachylepis raymondlaurenti is readily distinguishable from T. megalura by its coloration and scalation. Trachylepis megalura is characterized by a striped pattern with a number of fine dorsal longitudinal black or white stripes (grey-brown, light orange-brown or golden or red-brown) including a very characteristic prominent white stripe on the flanks, bordered above by a black stripe running from the upper lip along the entire body onto the tail, while the new species is characterized by the lack of the lateral stripe on the flanks, being homogeneously greyish-brown dorsally with scattered dark speckles. In terms of scalation, the supranasals and prefrontals are never in contact in T. raymondlaurenti sp. nov., while in T. megalura they are both in contact. Trachylepis boulengeri shares more morphological similarities with the new species than with T. megalura. Both Trachylepis boulengeri and T. raymondlaurenti have a uniform grey-brown background, sometimes with a few scattered dark flecks, but T. boulengeri also exhibits a black streak from below the eye to the ear opening, which is not visible in T. raymondlaurenti. In both taxa the supranasals and prefrontals are without contact, although T. boulengeri frequently has only one pretemporal (Broadley 2000), whereas T. raymondlaurenti has two. Trachylepis boulengeri has five to 11 keels per dorsal scale, whereas T. raymondlaurenti and T. megalura have only three weak keels, sometimes nearly indistinct. 
EtymologyThe species is named after Raymond F. Laurent (1917–2005), Belgian herpetologist who specialized in African amphibians and reptiles and contributed significantly to current knowledge of the Angolan and Congolese herpetofaunas. 
  • Broadley, Donald G. and F. P. D. Cotterill. 2004. The reptiles of southeast Katanga, an overlooked 'hot spot'. [Congo]. African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 35-61. - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, L M P; Marques, M P; Bandeira, S; Blackburn, D C & Bauer, A M 2018. Herpetological survey of Cangandala National Park, with a synoptic list of the amphibians and reptiles of Malanje Province, Central Angola. Herpetological Review 49 (3): 408-431 - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, L.M.P., Marques, M.P., Bandeira, S.A. 2016. Anfíbios e Répteis do Parque Nacional da Cangandala. Instituto Nacional da Biodiversidade e Áreas de Conservação & Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Luanda & Lisboa, 96 pp
  • Ceríaco, Luis M. P.; Mariana P. Marques, Ilunga André, Esteves Afonso, David C. Blackburn & Aaron M. Bauer 2020. ILLUSTRATED TYPE CATALOGUE OF THE “LOST” HERPETOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS OF MUSEU DO DUNDO, ANGOLA. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 162 (7): 379-440 - get paper here
  • Laurent, R.F. 1964. Reptiles et batraciens de l'Angola (troisième contribution). Companhia de Di amantes de Angola (Diamang), Serviços Culturais, Museu do Dundo (Angola), No. 67, 165 pp.
  • 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)
  • MARQUES, MARIANA P.; LUIS M. P. CERÍACO, SUZANA BANDEIRA, OLIVIER S. G. PAUWELS, AARON M. BAUER 2019. Description of a new long-tailed skink (Scincidae: Trachylepis) from Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Zootaxa 4568 (1): 051–068 - get paper here
  • Witte, G. F. de 1953. Reptiles. Exploration du Parc National de l'Upemba. Mission G. F. de Witte en collaboration avec W. Adam, A. Janssens, L. Van Meel et R. Verheyen (1946–1949). Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo Belge. Brussels, vol. 6, 322 pp. - get paper here
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