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Xenagama batillifera (VAILLANT, 1882)

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Agaminae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Vaillant’s Strange Agama, (Dwarf) Turnip Tail Agama 
SynonymUromastix batilliferus VAILLANT 1882: 10
Aporoscelis batilliferus — BOULENGER 1885: 411
Agama batillifera — BOULENGER 1895: 533
Agama (Xenagama) batillifera — BOULENGER 1897: 130
Agama (Xenagama) batillifera — PARKER 1942: 54
Agama batillifera — WERMUTH 1967: 9
Xenagama batillifera — LANZA 1983: 209
Agama batillifera — BRYGOO 1988: 7
Xenagama batillifera — BARTS & WILMS 1997: 396.1
Xenagama batillifera — MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999: 111
Xenagama batilifera [sic]— BARTS 2001: 2
Xenagama batillifera — BARTS & WILMS 2003 
DistributionNW Somalia, E Ethiopia ?

Type locality: Pays Comalis [=Somalia region]; lectotype locality: ‘Bender-Meraya [=Bender-Meraio] chez les Comalis Medjourtines’  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 5830, adult male collected by G. Revoil; originally four specimens (MNHN-RA 5830, MNHN-RA 5830A-C) among which one was exchanged, another is lost or also exchanged (MNHN-RA 5830B-C) and one is paralectotype (MNHN-RA 5830A). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): A genus of small to medium-sized agamid lizards, with adult males up to 190 mm total length. Tails short, in most species (X. batillifera, X. taylori, X. sp. n.) shorter than the SVL. Dorsal scales heterogeneous, keeled or smooth. Nasal scale on the canthus rostralis. Usually a distinct dorsolateral fold from neck to groin and sometimes the hindlimbs. Distinct from most species of the genus Agama by its heterogeneous body scalation and from all species by its tail arranged in rings. From other whorl-tailed lizards, it can be distinguished by pos- sessing only one scale ring per whorl at the upper tail base, sometimes two towards the tail tip. Lower side of the tail base without whorls or two scale rings per whorl towards the tail tip in some species [from WAGNER et al. 2013].

Diagnosis: A large Xenagama with males probably shorter than females. Head with the occipital scale not larger than other head scales and the nasal scale on the canthus rostralis. Ear hole sur- rounded in front and above by single short conical scales. No neck crest present. Body scalation heterogeneous, with smooth matrix scales, intermixed smooth to keeled enlarged scales and the ‘annectens scale type’ present. Gular and ventral scales smooth. Tail shorter than the body and head, discoidal part developed, but not as strongly as in X. taylori, longer than broad, gradually merging into the terminal filament. Discoidal part of the tail arranged in whorls with one scale ring each. Filament not arranged in distinct whorls [from WAGNER et al. 2013]. 
CommentSimilar species: All “X. batillifera” in captivity are actually X. wilmsi. Since the revision of WAGNER et al. 2013 X. batillifera is the rarest species of the genus.

Type species: Uromastix batilliferus VAILLANT 1882 is the type species of the genus Xenagama BOULENGER 1895: 534.

Phylogenetics: Pseudotrapelus forms a clade with Acanthocercus and Xenagama (e.g. Pyron et al. 2013) although the exact relationships remain controversial. for instance, Tamar et al. 2016 found Xenagama nested within Acanthocercus, indicating that it’s characteristic tail and other characters are derived and highly specialized. 
  • Barts, M. 2001. Xenagama batilifera (VAILLANT). Sauria 23 (3): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Barts, M. 2004. Erfahrungen bei der Haltung und Vermehrung von Xenagama batillifera (VAILLANT 1832) mit Anmerkungen zum Verhalten von Xenagama taylori (PARKER 1935). Reptilia (Münster) 9 (47): 72-77 - get paper here
  • Barts, M. & Wilms, T. 2003. Die Agamen der Welt. Draco 4 (14): 4-23 - get paper here
  • Barts, M. & Wilms,T. 1997. Catalogue of valid species and synonoms, Vol. 4 (Agamidae). Herprint International, Pretoria. - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. & Kirschner, A. 2002. Über die Stachelschwanzagamen der Gattung Xenagama BOULENGER 1895, mit Anmerkungen zur Zucht beider Arten. Herpetofauna 24 (139): 5-18 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1898. On a second collection of reptiles made by Mr. E. Lord-Phillips in Somaliland. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (7) 2: 130-133 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1895. An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith in western Somaliland and the Galla Country. Proc. zool. Soc. London 1895: 530-540 - get paper here
  • Brygoo, E.R. 1988. Les types d’Agamidés (Reptiles, Sauriens) du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle Catalogue critique. Bull. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. 10 (ser. 4) A (3), suppl.: 1-56
  • Gans, C.; LAURENT, R.F. & PANDIT, H. 1965. Notes on a herpetological collection from the Somali Republic. Ann. Mus. Roy. Afr. Centr., Sér. 8vo, Tervuren, (80) Zool., (134): 1-93
  • Lanza, B. 1983. A list of the Somali amphibians and reptiles. MONITORE ZOOLOGICO ITALIANO, new Ser., SUPPL. 18 (8): 193-247 - get paper here
  • Lanza, B. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1988] - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2006. Lizards of Ethiopia (Reptilia Sauria): an annotated checklist, bibliography, gazetteer and identification. Tropical Zoology 19 (1): 21-109 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Manthey,U. & SCHUSTER,N. 1999. Agamen, 2. Aufl. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 120 pp. - get paper here
  • Mazuch, Tomáš 2013. Amphibians and Reptiles of Somaliland and Eastern Ethiopia. Tomáš Mazuch Publishing, 80 pp. ISBN: 978-80-905439-0-4 - get paper here
  • Parker, H. W. 1942. The lizards of British Somaliland. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 1—101 - get paper here
  • Vaillant, M.L. 1882. Reptiles et Batraciens. in: Révoil: Mission G. Révoil aux pays Comalis, Faune et Flore. Faune et Flore des Pays Comalis, Afr. orient., 25 pp, 3 plates
  • Wagner, Philipp 2013. Wildfänge in der Terraristik? Terraria-Elaphe 2013 (5): 36-42 - get paper here
  • WAGNER, PHILIPP, TOMAS MAZUCH and AARON M. BAUER 2013. An extraordinary tail – integrative review of the agamid genus Xenagama. J Zoolog Syst Evol Res doi: 10.1111/jzs.12016 - get paper here
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