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Zygaspis maraisi BROADLEY & MEASEY, 2016

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymZygaspis maraisi BROADLEY & MEASEY 2016 
DistributionMozambique (Cabo Delgado)

Type locality: Pioneer Camp, Afungi Peninsula, Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, 10°50′17′′ S, 40°30′53′′ E, and elevation 17 m (Figure 2).  
TypesHolotype: NMZB 18009 (Figure 1). Collected by Johan Marais, 24 November 2013. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Similar to other species of Zygaspis, the diagnostic feature of Z. maraisi sp. nov. is its extensive black pigmentation, with only the chin area being white (Z. nigra, the only partly-coloured species, develops increasing black pigment as it grows, but adults have only the anterior 90% of each dorsal segment black, while no ventral segments are more than 50% black). It agrees with the Z. quadrifrons complex in having paired discrete preoculars. The new species further differs from Z. nigra, in having the third supralabial followed by two temporals and two post-supralabials. It differs from most Z. quadrifrons in having body annuli less than 200. It differs from Z. kafuensis in lacking a short blind sulcus extending from the rear edge of the nasal towards the nostril. It differs from Z. ferox in having only 32 segments in a mid-body annulus, and being more slender, with a smaller head. It differs from Z. dolichomenta in having the post- mental barely longer than the mental.
Loveridge (1941) recorded 221–242 body annuli in Zygaspis [Amphisbaena] q. quadrifrons and 198–221 in A. q. capensis (now synonymised with Z. quadrifrons), and these figures were repeated by Fitzsimons (1943), who reported an ‘overlap’ between the two subspecies in the Kalahari. Jacobsen (1989) recorded 190–228 (mostly 200–220) body annuli for Z. quadrifrons in the North-West and Limpopo Provinces (for- merly Transvaal). Broadley and Broadley (1997) recorded 195–245 (usually 207–245) body annuli for Z. quadrifrons throughout its range (N = 982).
CommentHabitat.—Strychnos madagascarensis–Xylothecia tettensis Short Open Woodland on deep grey/white sands. 
EtymologyThe name is a patronym honouring the collector, Johan Marais, in recognition of his many contributions to southern African herpetology. The name is constructed in the masculine genitive. 
  • Broadley, Donald G. & Broadley, Sheila 1997. A revision of the African genus Zygaspis Cope (Reptilia: Amphisbaenia). Syntarsus 4: 1-24
  • BROADLEY, DONALD G. & G. JOHN MEASEY 2016. A new species of Zygaspis (Reptilia: Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) from north-eastern Mozambique. African Journal of Herpetology 65 (2): 115- 122 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Jacobsen, N. H. G. 1989. A herpetological survey of the Transvaal. Unpubl. thesis, Univ. Natal, South Africa
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