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Tropidoscincus variabilis (BAVAY, 1869)

IUCN Red List - Tropidoscincus variabilis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymTropidolopisma variabilis BAVAY 1869: 26
Lygosoma röhssii ANDERSSON 1908: 4
Lygosoma variable — WERNER 1910: 270
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) variable [sic] — SMITH 1937: 225
Leiolopisma variabile — GREER 1974: 17
Leiolopisma variabile — ZUG 1985
Leiolopisma viriable — BAUER & DEVANEY 1987 (in error)
Tropidoscincus rohssii — SADLIER 1987: 30
Tropidoscincus variabilis — SADLIER 1987: 24
Tropidoscincus roehssii — BAUER & VINDUM 1990
Tropidoscincus variabilis — BAUER & VINDUM 1990
Leiolopisma variabile — FRANK & RAMUS 1995
Tropidoscincus roehssii — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995
Tropidoscincus variabilis — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995
Tropidoscincus variabilis — SADLIER & BAUER, 2000 
DistributionNew Caledonia

roehssii: SE New Caledonia.

Type locality: “Nouvelle-Calédonie” (by implication).  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 6225 (1870.5, 2975A), 6225A, 6210 (1870.5, 2975B), 6210A, New Caledonia, collected M. Marie; 7129 (1870.97, 2969A), New Caledonia, collected M. Panchen, 25.viii.1870) (see Brygoo, 1985). The existence of syntypes renders invalid the designation of a neotype (AMS R77875, Mt Panie, New Caledonia) by Sadlier (1987: 24). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Tropidoscincus variabilis can be distinguished from both Tropidoscincus aubrianus and Tropidoscincus rohssii by the scales on the posterior aspect of the thighs being small, juxtaposed, and sharply demarcated from large overlapping scales on dorsum of thigh, whereas T. aubrianus and T. rohssii have the scales on the posterior aspect of the thighs overlapping and evenly decreasing in size ventrally. Tropidoscincus variabilis is further distinguished from T. aubrianus by possesssing more midbody scale rows (36-40 vs 32-34); fewer paravertebral scales (49-58 vs 58-62); more premaxilliary teeth (11 vs 9); juveniles with pale dorsolateral stripe extending only to middorsum vs full length of dorsum to level of hindlimbs in juvenile T. aubrianus. Tropidoscincus variabilis further differs from T. rohssii by its generally larger adult body size (maximum SVL 95 mm vs 78 mm). () 
CommentSynonymy: Lygosoma röhssii has been synonymized with T. variabilis by SADLIER & BAUER, 2000.

Abundance: Common where it is found. 
  • 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
  • Andersson, L. G. 1908. Two new lizards (Eurydactylus and Lygosoma) from New Caledonia. Arkiv för Zoologi, Utgivet Av Kongliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien, Stockholm, 4:1-5. - get paper here
  • Bauer, A. M. & SADLIER, R. A. 2000. The herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Contributions to Herpetology, 17; Society for Study Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.
  • Bauer, A. M.; DeVaney, K. D. 1987. Comparative aspects of diet and habitat in some New Caledonian lizards. Amphibia-Reptilia 8: 365-372 - get paper here
  • Bauer, A.M. & Sadlier,R.A. 1993. Systematics, biogeography and conservation of the lizards of New Caledonia. Biodiv. Lett. 1: 107-122 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Vindum, Jens V. 1990. A checklist and key to the herpetofauna of New Caledonia, with remarks on biogeography. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 47 (2): 17-45 - get paper here
  • Bavay,A. 1869. Catalogue des Reptiles de las Nouvelle - Caledonie et description d'especes nouvelles. Memoires Societe Linniene de Normandie 15: 1-37
  • 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
  • Sadlier R A 1987. A review of the scincid lizards of New Caledonia. Rec. Austral. Mus. 39(1) 1987: 1-66 [1986] - get paper here
  • Shea, G., H. Jourdan, R. Sadlier & A. Bauer 2009. Natural history of the New Caledonian whiptailed skink Tropidoscincus variabilis (Bavay, 1869) (Squamata: Scincidae) Amphibia-Reptilia, 30(2): 207-220. - 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
  • Werner, F. 1910. Neue oder seltenere Reptilien des Musée Royal d'Histoire Naturelle de Belgique in Brüssel. [Mabuia dolloi, Mabuia polylepis]. Zool. Jb. Abt. Syst. Okol. Geogr. 28 [1909]: 263-288. - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
  • Zug,G. R. 1985. A new skink (Reptilia: Sauria: Leiolopisma) from Fiji. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 98 (1): 221-231 - get paper here
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