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Tropidophorus assamensis ANNANDALE, 1912

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: North-Eastern Waterskink
G: Assam-Wasserskink 
SynonymTropidophorus assamensis ANNANDALE 1912: 58
Tropidophorus assamensis — SMITH 1935: 327
Tropidophorus assamensis — DAS 1996: 48
Tropidophorus assamensis — HONDA et al. 2006
Tropidophorus assamensis — LALREMSANGA et al. 2022 
DistributionBangladesh, NE India (Mizoram, Assam)

Type locality: Harigaj Range, Sylhet Hills [Bangladesh].  
TypesHolotype: ZSI 17029 
DiagnosisOriginal description: “This species is closely related to Tropidophorus cochinensis, D. & B., from which it differs in its more slender form, shorter limbs, keeled ventrals, etc.
Habit slender; cylindrical.
Head. Snout sharply pointed, narrow, no longer than orbit. Dorsal scales strongly ridged; a single fronto-nasal, which is al most as broad posteriorly as it is long ; praefrontals short, form ing a median suture ; frontal shorter than fronto-parietals and interparietal together; 4 supraoculars, the st and 4th longest; 5 supraciliaries, Ist longest; fronto-parietals longer than inter parietal, forming a suture behind it; 5 upper labials, 4th longest; 3rd, 4th and 5th beneath eye; an azygous mental: tympanum smaller than eye-opening.
Scales, 30 round body, all strongly keeled and spinously pro duced: ventrals largest; throat scales not strongly keeled but ending in a sharp point posteriorly; a pair of large praeanals; dorsal and lateral tail-scales keeled; ventral tail-scales smooth.
Limbs short but well-formed. Hind limb reaches wrist. Infra digital lamellae smooth. Tail cylindrical, tapering, longer than head and body.
Coloration.-Dorsal surface dark brown obscurely marbled with yellow, three cross-bars of latter colour: one across hips, a second across shoulders and a third (less distinct than others) across back of neck; tail rather darker, obscurely banded; head brown : sides and lips black with small white spots; ventral surface yel lowish; small black spots on chin, throat and chest ; ventral surface of tail dark with an interrupted mid-ventral pale stripe, which becomes obscure distally, and numerous small yellowish spots.” (Annandale 1912, base don the type).

Lalremsanga et al. 2022 described two more specimens as follows: “PUCZM/B/111/0004 & MZMU2080, respectively: snout-vent length 70.62 mm & 74.50 mm, exceeding the size of the largest known individual for the species (68.65 mm) previously recorded by Das (2008); tail length 92.42 mm & 90.20 mm; trunk length 41.38 mm & 37.04 mm; snout length 5.60 mm & 5.56 mm; snout width (at nostril) 2.80 mm & 2.85 mm; head length at angle of jaw 11.40 mm & 14.38 mm; head width at angle of jaw 8.61 mm & 9.20 mm; head depth 6.73 mm & 6.84 mm; eye diameter 3.40 mm & 3.90 mm; tympanum exposed and large with diameter 1.86 mm & 2.10 mm; inter-narial distance 1.71 mm & 2.90 mm; eye to nostril distance 3.37 mm & 3.70 mm; tympanum to eye distance 4.73 mm & 5.80 mm; forelimb length 16.58 mm & 18.54 mm; hindlimb length 24.70 mm & 25.92 mm; leg when stretched almost reaches to the wrist; 91 & 80 caudal plates; scales around mid-body 34 & 31; longitudinal mid- dorsal scale from nuchal to level of hindlimb insertion 43 & 46; two large preanal scales; single large frontal; two prefrontal contact each other; supralabials 8 on either sides & 6 on left and 8 on right; infralabials 8 on left and 7 on right & 6 on left and 7 on right; lower eyelids scaly; supra oculars 4 & 4; lamellae on fourth finger 11 & 12, and 18 & 14 on fourth toe; relative finger length F4>F3>F2>F5>F1; and toe length T4>T3>T5>T2>T1; ventrals smooth; dorsal and lateral scales strongly keeled and mucronate; snout sharply pointed; rostrum convex; single nasal; mental large. In life, dorsum dark brownish with obscured yellow patches; prominent yellowish band across hindlimbs, and another across the forelimbs; three or four broken yellowish bands between the forelimbs and hindlimbs; head region including the nape paler than dorsum colour; tail abstrusely banded.”

CommentDistribution: possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Annandale, NELSON 1912. Zoological results of the Abor Expedition, 1911-1912. Records of the Indian Museum 8 (1): 7-59 [Reptilia, pages 37-59] (supplement in same journal, 8 (4): 357-358, 1914). - get paper here
  • Das, Abhijit; Uttam Saikia, B. H. C. K. Murthy, Santanu Dey and Sushil K. Dutta 2009. A herpetofaunal inventory of Barail Wildlife Sanctuary and adjacent regions, Assam, north-eastern India. Hamadryad 34 (1): 117 – 134 - get paper here
  • Das, Indraneil & Abhijit Das 2017. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 176 pp.
  • Honda, Masanao; Ota, Hidetoshi; Murphy, Robert W.; and Hikida, Tsutomu. 2006. Phylogeny and biogeography of water skinks of the genus Tropidophorus (Reptilia: Scincidae) a molecular approach. Zoologica Scripta 35 (1):85-95 - get paper here
  • Lalremsanga, H.T., L. Khawlhring & Lalrotluanga 2010. Three additional lizard (Squamata: Sauria) records for Mizoram, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(2): 718-720 - get paper here
  • LALREMSANGA, HMAR TLAWMTE; HT DECEMSON, MATHIPI VABEIRYUREILAI, VAN LALHLIMPUIA FANAI MALSAWMDAWNGLIANA, LAL MUANSANGA & LAL BIAKZUALA. 2022. Phylogenetic position of Tropidophorus assamensis Annandale, 1912 with updated morphological data and distributional records. Herpetological Journal 32 (1): 1-4 - get paper here
  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Mathew, Rosamma 2006. North-eastern water skink Tropidophorus assamensis Annandale (Reptilia: Sauria: Scincidae) in Mizoram, North East India. Cobra 63: 14-15
  • Purkayastha J. 2013. An Amateur’s Guide to Reptiles of Assam. EBH Publishers (India) - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1923. A review of the lizards of the genus Tropidophorus on the Asiatic mainland. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1923: 775-781 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptiles and Amphibia, Vol. II. Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.
  • Venugopal, P.D. 2010. An updated and annotated list of Indian lizards (Reptilia: Sauria) based on a review of distribution records and checklists of Indian reptiles. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (3): 725-738. - get paper here
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