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Tympanocryptis mccartneyi ┬╗

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Amphibolurinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Bathurst Grassland Earless Dragon 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales)

Type locality: Bathurst, NSW.  
TypesHolotype: AMS R26077, Bathurst, NSW (specific location details held in AM database but not released for publication due to conservation concerns). Adult male. Collected by I. McCartney. Paratype. AM R25980, open grassland, Bathurst, NSW. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Tympanocryptis with tapering snout, nasal scale below the canthus rostralis, six dark dorsal crossbands, lateral skin fold, dorsal tubercles terminating in a prominent spine directed posterodorsally, heterogeneous thigh scalation including scattered enlarged tubercles, keeled gular scales, frequent presence of dark speckling on the ventral surfaces, especially the throat, and with 12 or more caudal blotches.

Comparison to other species. Tympanocryptis mccartneyi sp. nov., with a distribution restricted to grasslands around Bathurst, NSW, is geographically isolated and is not known to overlap with any other Tympanocryptis species. Tympanocryptis lineata, occurring in the Canberra grasslands, is geographically closest (approx. 250 km). Tympanocryptis mccartneyi differs from both T. lineata and T. osbornei in having enlarged tubercular scales scattered on the thighs and keeled rather than smooth throat scales. Differs from T. pinguicolla from Victoria in having more acutely pointed dorsal tubercles directed more posteriorly than vertically and keeled rather than smooth gular scales. 
CommentHabitat. A grassland specialist, inhabiting treeless plains and open grasslands. Has been found along railway tracks, with weedy Paspalum grass thickets, and in vacant paddocks with tall pasture grass. Presumably similar habits to those of grassland earless dragons further south.

Conservation: The species may be extinct now, with the latest photo taken in life being from 1988 (Melville & Wilson 2019). This is one of the most-threatened reptile species in Australia (Geyle et al. 2021). 
EtymologyNamed for Ian McCartney, retired ranger and local natural historian of the Bathurst region, who, along with Gavin Waters, was instrumental in the discovery of this species. They also organized and participated in field surveys with the ACT Herpetological Association, the first of which was on 11 December 1988. 
  • Geyle, H. M., Tingley, R., Amy, A., Cogger, H., Couper, P., Cowan, M., Craig, M., Doughty, P., Driscoll, D., Ellis, R., Emery, J-P., Fenner, A., Gardner, M., Garnett, S., Gillespie, G., Greenless, M., Hoskin, C., Keogh, S., Lloyd, R., ... Chapple, D. 2020. Reptiles on the brink: Identifying the Australian terrestrial snake and lizard species most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology - get paper here
  • Melville J & Wilson S 2019. Dragon Lizards of Australia. Museum Victoria, 406 pp. [reviews in HR 51 (3): 633, Copeia 108 (3): 701, 2020]
  • Melville J, Chaplin K, Hutchinson M, Sumner J, Gruber B, MacDonald AJ, Sarre SD. 2019. Taxonomy and conservation of grassland earless dragons: new species and an assessment of the first possible extinction of a reptile on mainland Australia. R. Soc. open sci. 6: 190233 - get paper here
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