Sphenomorphus sheai, Nguyen, Truong Quang, Nguyen, Khoi Vu, Devender, Robert Wayne Van, Bonkowski, Michael & Ziegler, Thomas, 2013

Nguyen, Truong Quang, Nguyen, Khoi Vu, Devender, Robert Wayne Van, Bonkowski, Michael & Ziegler, Thomas, 2013, A new species of Sphenomorphus Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae) from Vietnam, Zootaxa 3734 (1) : -

publication ID

https://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3734.1.6

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:5CB1F0B9-752B-4746-8865-F3587DF7074E

DOI

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6146951

persistent identifier

https://treatment.plazi.org/id/03D68789-AC68-1623-AA90-FBE76393FC7E

treatment provided by

Plazi

scientific name

Sphenomorphus sheai
status

sp. nov.

Sphenomorphus sheai sp. nov.

( Figs. 1 View FIGURE 1 , 2 View FIGURE 2 )

Holotype. IEBR A. 2013.22 (Field number ASU 10715), adult female, collected on 4 June 2012 by K. V. Nguyen and R. W. Van Devender near Camp 1 (14 o 37.098 ’N, 108 o 30.177 ’E, elevation 1,025 m; datum WGS 84) from Kon Tum Plateau in the border area between Quang Ngai and Kon Tum provinces, southern Central Vietnam.

Diagnosis. Size small (SVL 35.2 mm); prefrontals separated from each other; supraoculars four; enlarged nuchals in two pairs; lower eyelid scaly; supralabials six, first fused with nasal; primary temporals two; external ear openings absent; midbody scales in 20 rows; dorsal scales smooth, paravertebral scales 53, not widened; limbs short, pentadactyl; scales on dorsal surface of base of fourth toe in three rows; lamellae under fourth toe six; free margins of upper and lower eyelids not edged in white; dorsum and tail base bronze brown with dark dots; dorsolateral light stripe present on neck, shoulder and anterior part of dorsum; upper zone of lateral head and flank with a narrow black stripe.

Description of holotype. Size small (SVL 35.2 mm), tail complete (TaL 58.5 mm), head longer than wide (HL 6.0 mm, HW 4.2 mm), SL 2.6 mm, SFlL 10.8 mm, AG 21.2 mm, limbs short (FlL 5.1 mm, HlL 7.5 mm); proportions: TaL/SVL 1.66, HL/SVL 0.17, FlL/SVL 0.14, HlL/SVL 0.21.

Snout obtuse, rounded anteriorly; rostral wider than high, distinctly visible from above; supranasals absent; frontonasal wider than long, in contact with rostral, nasals, anterior loreals, and prefrontals; prefrontals separated from each other; frontal narrowing posteriorly, longer than the distance to the tip of snout, in contact with frontonasal, prefrontals, first and second supraoculars, and frontoparietals; frontoparietals in contact with each other anteriorly, and bordered by frontal, three posterior supraoculars, parietals, and interparietal; interparietal lozenge-shaped with a small transparent spot in posterior angle; parietals in contact posteriorly, posterolateral border surrounded by three scales on each side; enlarged nuchal scales in two pairs.

Nostril in center of nasal; postnasals absent; loreals two, anterior larger than posterior; preocular single; presubocular single; supraciliaries seven, first largest, first to third in contact with first supraocular; supraoculars four, second widest, fourth supraocular followed by a small scale; postocular single; postsuboculars three, lower one in contact with fifth supralabial; primary temporals two, lower one in contact with sixth supralabial; secondary temporals two, upper one very large, in contact with parietal, overlapped by lower one; lower eyelid moveable, scaly, separated from supralabials by one row of small scales; supralabials six, anterior first fused with nasal, fifth and sixth enlarged, fourth below the eye; external ear openings absent.

Mental wider than long, rounded anteriorly, in contact with anterior infralabial on each side and postmental; infralabials five; postmental undivided, in contact with mental, first infralabial and anterior pair of chinshields; three pairs of chinshields, anterior pair in contact with each other anteriorly, second pair separated from each other by a gular scale, and posterior pair separated from each other by three scales.

Midbody scales in 20 rows; dorsal scales smooth, subequal to lateral and ventral scales, four scale rows between dark stripes on upper lateral zones; paravertebral scales 53, not widened; ventrals smooth, in 54 rows; precloacals four, inner scales overlapping outer ones, medial two enlarged, right scale overlapped by left scale; tail thick at base, median subcaudals widened.

Limbs short, pentadactyl; second and fourth fingers equal in length, third longest; fore and hind limbs distinctly separated when adpressed along body wall; scales on dorsal surface of base of fourth toe in three rows, reducing to two at third or fourth scale and with terminal two scales single; subdigital lamellae smooth, numbering five under fourth finger and six under fourth toe

Coloration in alcohol. Free margins of upper and lower eyelids not edged in white; dorsum and tail base bronze brown with fine dark dots; dorsal tail tip dark brown; upper lateral head and flank with narrow black stripe, one scale wide, running from nostril to anterior corner of eye and from behind the eye through hindlimb to tail base, interrupted by small light spots from posterior half of body; dorsolateral light stripe present on neck, shoulder and anterior part of dorsum; supralabials and infralabials with dark bars on sutures; arms and legs dark brown with light spots; chin and throat cream; venter and tail base cream; underside of tail tip with very small dark brown dots.

Distribution. Sphenomorphus sheai sp. nov. is known only from the type locality in the border area between Quang Ngai and Kon Tumprovince, southern Central Vietnam ( Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 ).

Natural history. The holotype was collected about two hours after dark among leaf litter on a steep slope about three meters above a small stream surrounded by secondary forest at an elevation of 1025 m. The holotype contained four small white follicles in each ovary.

Etymology. The new species is named in honour of Dr. Glenn Shea from the University of Sydney, Australia, in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards the systematics of scincid lizards. For the common names we suggest Shea’s Forest Skink (English), Thằn lằn phê-nô shea (Vietnamese), and Sheas Bodenskink ( German).

Comparisons. Based on specimen examination (Appendix) and data from the literature (e.g., Boulenger 1887; Smith 1935; Bourret 1939, 2009; Taylor 1963; Darevsky & Orlov 2005; Nguyen et al. 2011; Luu et al. 2013; Roy et al. 2013), we compare Sphenomorphus sheai with the following species of Sphenomorphus from China and mainland Southeast Asia which have midbody scale counts fewer than 26 rows: Sphenomorphus stellatus (Boulenger) (22–24 rows), S. tridigitus (Bourret) (18–20 rows), S. tetradactylus (Darevsky & Orlov) (20 rows). Sphenomorphus sheai can be distinguished from S. stellatus by having a smaller size (SVL 35.2 mm vs. 57–80 mm in S. stellatus ), fewer lamellae under fourth toe (six vs. 18–23 in S. stellatus ), fore and hind limbs distinctly separated when adpressed along body wall (vs. overlapped), and by the absence of dorsal large dark blotches (vs. presence). The new species differs from S. tridigitus and S. tetradactylus by having forelimbs pentydactyl (versus three and four in S. tridigitus and S. tetradactylus , respectively) and two primary temporals (vs. one in S. tridigitus and S. tetradactylus ).

Sphenomorphus sheai could be mistaken for several skink species of the genus Lygosoma , which also have short limbs and midbody scale rows fewer than 26, including L. anguinum (Theobald) (22), L. lineolatum (Stolizcka) (22), L. popae (Shreve) (24), L. punctata (Gmelin) (24–28), L. quadrupes (Linnaeus) (24–28), and L. veunsaiensis Geissler, Hartmann & Neang (22). However, Sphenomorphus sheai differs from all aforementioned species by the absence of supranasals (present in Lygosoma ) and having the first supralabial fused with nasal (not fused in Lygosma ) (see Geissler et al. 2012).

Sphenomorphus sheai also resembles Scincella apraefrontalis Nguyen, Nguyen, Böhme & Ziegler by having a low midbody scale count, no ear openings, and first supralabial fused with nasal; however, the new species can be distinguished from latter by the presence of prefrontals and opaque window on lower eyelid which are absent in Scincella apraefrontalis (Nguyen et al. 2010) .

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Family

Scincidae

Genus

Sphenomorphus