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

Type locality: Cooma, NSW (see types).  
TypesHolotype. SAMA R43098, Cooma, NSW. Adult male. [specific location details held in SAMA database but not released for publication due to conservation concerns].
Paratypes. NMV D76106, NMV D76105 Cooma, NSW. SAMA R43347, Cooma, NSW. AM R38172, R131836, Cooma, NSW. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of Tympanocryptis with tapering snout, nasal scale below the canthus rostralis, six or seven dark dorsal crossbands, lateral skin fold, dorsal tubercles terminating in a prominent spine directed posterodorsally, lacking tubercular scales on the thighs, smooth gular scales, frequent presence of dark speckling on the ventral surfaces, especially the throat, and with 12 or more caudal blotches.

Description. Lateral neck fold well developed, from angle of jaw to gular fold; spines along extent of fold. Head and snout with strongly keeled dorsal scales; keels irregular, those on the lateral scales aligned more obliquely than those on the more medial scales. Snout shape smoothly tapering in profile, the canthal scales continuous with the rostral scale. Nasal scale dorsal margin does not cross onto the dorsal side of the canthus rostralis. No row of enlarged scales along the ventral margin of the nasal scale between the nasal and small snout scales. Dorsal body scales weakly to moderately keeled and imbricate. Numerous scattered strongly enlarged spinous dorsal scales, at least twice the width of adjacent body scales, each with a strong median keel ending in a prominent spine directed posterodorsally; sharply convex trailing edge not raised into a rim. Ventral body scales and throat scales smooth. Thigh scalation homogeneous, lacking scattered enlarged tubercular scales. Lateral fold between axilla and groin present. Snout–vent length 49–58 mm; femoral pores 1⁄4 0; preanal pores 1⁄4 2.
Dorsal colour pattern variable in degree of development and colour hue, from reddish brown to grey- brown with six or seven dark brown transverse bands and with 5-lined pattern well defined, and usually continuous, or at most briefly interrupted on the paler interspaces between the dark cross bands. Dorsolateral lines as wide as or wider than the vertebral line, well defined, straight-edged, not expanding around the vertebral blotches. Vertebral and dorsolateral stripes continue weakly onto the tail outlining 12–14 dark caudal blotches. Pale supra-ocular bar present but usually weakly contrasting. Venter whitish, often heavily patterned with blackish speckling, especially on the throat.

Comparison to other species. Tympanocryptis osbornei, with a distribution restricted to grasslands on the Monaro tablelands, is geographically isolated and does not overlap with any other Tympanocryptis species. See T. lineata for comments on separating these two species. 
CommentHabitat. Naturally treeless native grassland communities from 758 to 1234 m above sea level on basalt geology and heavy clay soils and in predominately dry tussock grasslands of snow grasses (Poa spp.), wallaby grasses (Austrodanthonia spp.) and kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) [54]. The species overwinters in crevices or burrows excavated by wolf spiders beneath surface rocks [12] but its ecology has been little studied. 
EtymologyNamed for Dr Will Osborne, conservation biologist and ecologist, who provided the first accounts of this species in the modern era and has spearheaded ecological and conservation research. 
  • 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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