Phymaturus delheyi, Avila, Luciano Javier, Perez, Cristian Hernan Fulvio, Perez, Daniel Roberto & Morando, Mariana, 2011

Avila, Luciano Javier, Perez, Cristian Hernan Fulvio, Perez, Daniel Roberto & Morando, Mariana, 2011, Two new mountain lizard species of the Phymaturus genus (Squamata: Iguania) from northwestern Patagonia, Argentina, Zootaxa 2924, pp. 1-21: 10-18

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.277941

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Phymaturus delheyi

sp. nov.

Phymaturus delheyi  sp. nov.

( Figures 6View FIGURE 6, 7View FIGURE 7)

Type material. Holotype: MLP.S 2609, adult male collected on rocky environments of the northern Tromen Volcano massif, along Butacó Creek, on Provincial Road 37 (36 º 59 ’ S, 69 º 59 ’ W, 1810 m, datum = WGS 84), Pehuenches Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina; L.J. Avila, D.R. Pérez, and C.H.F. Pérez, collectors.

Paratypes: LJAMM-CNP 7655, MLP.S 2610 males, LJAMM-CNP 7657-7659, females. Same data as holotype. L.J. Avila, same as above collectors. LJAMM-CNP 5220, MLP.S 2611, females. Same data as holotype; L.J. Avila, C.H.F. Pérez, K. Dittmar, M. Morando, and J.W. Sites, Jr., collectors.

Diagnosis. Phymaturus delheyi  is a robust and medium sized member of the clade of Phymaturus  lizards referred to as the patagonicus  group by Etheridge (1995) because it has flat imbricate superciliaries, non-rugose dorsal scales on tail, and subocular usually not fragmented. Phymaturus delheyi  can be distinguished from other species of the patagonicus  group ( P. agilis  , P. calcogaster  , P. castillensis  , P. ceii  , P. de s u e tu s, P. etheridgei  , P. excelsus  , P. felixi  , P. indistinctus  , P. m a n u e l a e, P. patagonicus  , P. somuncurensis  , P. spurcus  , P. spectabilis  , P. v i d e l a i, P. tenebrosus  ) by colour pattern features and geographical distribution.

This new species is allopatric and differs from all other members of the clade in its unique dorsal pattern of medium size white spots covering 1–10 scales on a dark-brown background. The presence of sexual dichromatism differentiates Phymaturus delheyi  from Phymaturus sitesi  sp. nov. and P. nevadoi  . Dorsal pattern of P. payuniae  is composed by irregular white spots (between 4–40 scales each, sometimes fused) scattered along head and trunk, and becoming enlarged on tail to almost reticulated on limbs, a pattern never observed in P. delheyi  . Ventral coloration in P. payuniae  is clearer than in P. delheyi  . Phymaturus delheyi  has a pink tinge on the chest and belly, becoming an orange coloration on the lower abdomen, and cloacal and femoral regions not observed in P. payuniae  .

Scales around midbody are higher in P. payuniae  than in P. delheyi  and show little overlap (221–234 vs 198–227). Dorsal pattern of P. zapalensis  is composed by irregular white spots (between 5–14 scales each, sometimes fused) scattered along head and trunk but not in limbs and tail, white spots become smaller in lateral areas, and then lateral dark areas turn into dark bands between shoulder and rump, a pattern never observed in P. delheyi  . Ventral coloration in P. zapalensis  is greyish with a dark reticulated only in the gular region, pattern never observed in P. delheyi  . Phymaturus nevadoi  has a dorsal pattern with spots usually occupying fewer scales (4–9 scales vs 1–10), greater density, and grow to be larger on flanks (not in P. delheyi  ). Phymaturus delheyi  shows a higher ventral scale count (174–202 vs 162–179 in P. nevadoi  ). Phymaturus delheyi  can be distinguished from Phymaturus sitesi  new sp. by the dorsal pattern described above. Scales around midbody are fewer in P. delheyi  than in P. sitesi  (198–227 vs 210–229), and higher in ventral scales with some overlap (174–202 vs 160–190).

Description of the holotype. Adult male 89.5 mm (SVL). Axilla-groin distance 47.7 mm. Tail length 105.1 mm. Head length 15.7 mm; head width 15.0 mm; head depth 10.5 mm; snout length 6.6 mm, horizontal diameter of the orbit 4.1 mm. Arm length 28.6 mm; tibial length 18.8 mm; foot length 25.9 mm.

Upper head scales smooth, convex, bulged, pitted with scale organs, in postrostral, internasals, frontonasals, and prefrontals. Rostral flat, two times wide as high (3.24 x 1.48 mm). Four postrostrals, two on each side, small and triangular, central scales different in shape and not similar in size each other, irregular, wider than high, with 5 and 11 conspicuous scale organs each; rostral and nasal uncontacted, separated by the anterior lorilabial scale and postrostrals. Nasal scales almost rounded (1.52 x 1.28 mm). Nostril elongated and in angle, occupying almost all the nasal scale. Nasal scales in contact with 9–10 scales. Internasal, frontonasals, prefrontals, frontals, frontoparietals, parietals, supraoculars, and circumorbitals small, irregular in shape, very homogenous in size and shape from each other. Interparietal rhombal, only distinguishable by a large and conspicuous cream-white “eye” in the middle, located on the half anterior part of the scale. Twenty three dorsal head scales between rostral and nuchals. Two scales between nasal and first canthal. First canthal small, wider than long. Posterior canthal larger, longer than wide. Posterior canthal slightly overlapping first supercilliary. Supercilliaries 6 - 6 (left-right); both sides all moderately overlapped. Loreal region flat, 5 irregular scales on each side. Upper ciliary scales in two rows, those of inner rows flat and quadrangular, those of outer row granular and compressed. Lower and upper ciliaries similar in shape but lower ciliares larger. Palpebral scales small, irregular, slightly granular. One preocular, small, rectangular; one elongate subocular (5.0 x 0.68 mm), unfragmented, one small postocular; a very evident keel in subocular, well marked in preocular, and less marked in postocular. Two rows of lorilabials becoming only one below subocular. Lorilabials convex, 9 / 9 - 9 / 7, rectangular, slightly narrow than supralabials, pitted with conspicuous and numerous scale organs. Supralabials 10 - 8, flat. Temporal scales conical, smooth, swollen, juxtaposed, with a scale organ in the tip. Auditory meatus higher than wide (4.3 x 1.9 mm) posteriorly surrounded by granular scales. Mental pentagonal, wider than high (2.7 x 1.9 mm); in contact with anterior infra-labial and post-mental but not in contact with anterior sub-labials. Infralabials 7 - 7. Chinshields 7-8, irregular, first 4–5 slightly pentagonal, separated from infralabials by series of 1-2 - 3 irregular scales, first equal in size but becoming smaller posteriorly. Only a few scale organs present in supra-labials and infra-labials. Gular scales round, flat, and juxtaposed. Fifty-nine between auditory meata. Lateral post-auricular folds moderately developed, with granular scales over longitudinal fold. Antehumeral pocket well developed. Seventy-five scales between auditory meatus and shoulder. In ventral view, gular fold not well developed at their anterior margins, but with enlarged scales on their borders and posterior gular fold present.

Dorsal body scales rounded, smooth, juxtaposed. Forty-three dorsal scales along midline of the trunk in a distance equivalent to head length. Scales around midbody 198. Mid-dorsal scales not enlarged in comparison to those on flanks, both rounded and juxtaposed. Dorsal scales between occiput an anterior margin of hind-limb articulations 45. Ventral scales larger that dorsals, rhomboidal and juxtaposed. Ventral scales between mental and precloacal pores 175. Scales of the cloacal apron smaller than body scales, flat, rhomboidal, juxtaposed. Precloacal pores 7. Supra-brachial scales rhomboidal, smooth, imbricated and ante-brachial scales smooth, slightly imbricated, with rounded posterior margins, larger than dorsal body scales. Supra-carpals laminar, round, smooth. Supra-digital lamellae convex, imbricate. Infra-brachial and ante-brachial scales smooth, with rounded posterior margins, larger that dorsal body scales, Sub-digital lamellae with 3–5 keels (more conspicuous in proximal lamellae). Sub-digital lamellae numbering I: 12; II: 18; III: 22; IV: 25; V: 18. Claws moderately long. Infra-carpals with round margins and 2–3 obtuse keels, distally with a mucron. Supra-femorals smooth, imbricate, rhomboidal to rounded, the majority with a pointed keel. Infra-femorals slightly larger and imbricate, smooth, rhomboidal. Supra-tarsals rhombals, some with a moderate keel, slightly mucronated. Post-femoral scales smaller and rhomboidal, some pointed. Supra-tibials imbricate, almost all with a pointed small keel. Infra-tibials larger than infra-femorals, smooth, imbricate. Infra-tarsals with round margins and 3 obtuse keels, distally mucronate. Sub-digital lamellae numbering I: 15; II: 20; III: 25; IV: 32; V: 23.

Caudal scales arranged in spinose annuli, scales larger than body and limbs scales, slightly keeled, imbricated, out-projecting.

Color in life. Dorsal coloration of head, body and limbs speckled with white spots uniformly distributed (occupying 1 scale in the head, 1–10 body scales, and 2–4 on limbs) in a darkbrown background. Tail brown, speckled with white spots uniformly distributed and occupying 1–4 scales. In ventral view, throat, forelimbs, and margins of chest with black reticulations on a gray venter; central areas of chest, abdomen, cloacal apron, ventral surfaces of femoral and tibial region of hindlimbs, and foot mustard, but becoming lighter on the chest.

Color in preservative. Dorsal background became a faded gray-brown with white spots uniformly distributed on dorsal areas of the head, body, limbs, and tail. General coloration of ventral surfaces (throat, limbs, and tail) become yellowish with a slight mustard color in the posterior region of abdomen, and continuous over the cloaca and thighs.

Variation. Based on three adult males ( Table 4, Figure 8View FIGURE 8); SVL 87.1–89.6 mm. Axilla groin distance 44.7–47.2 mm. Foot length 25.2 –28.0 mm. Tibial length 17.1–18.8 mm. Arm length 28.3–29.3 mm. Head length 14.9–15.7 mm. Head width 14.8 –15.0 mm. Head high 9.6–10.6 mm. Midbody scales 198–222. Dorsal scales in a head length 43–44. Ventral scales 174–184. Supralabials 9–10. Infralabials 7–9. Scales around nasal 7–8. Third finger lamellae 21–23. Fourth toe lamellae 29–32. Precloacal pores 7–8. In five adult females ( Table 4, Figure 8View FIGURE 8): SVL 78.0– 93.7 mm. Axilla-groin distance 45.4–52.4 mm. Foot length 22.5–26.5 mm. Tibial length 15.3–17.8 mm. Arm length 24.2–30.1 mm. Head length 12.7–15.7 mm. Head width 12.3–14.8 mm. Head high 7.7–9.6 mm. Midbody scales 202–227. Dorsal scales in a head length 39–48. Ventral scales 189–202. Supralabials 7–10. Infralabials 6–7. Scales around nasal 8–9. Third finger lamellae 21–25. Fourth toe lamellae 30–34.

Etymology. The species is dedicated to honor our friend Kaspar Delhey from Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany, an Argentinean ornithologist and evolutionary biologist who helped to collected this and other species still to be described from northern Patagonia.

Geographic distribution. Phymaturus delheyi  was collected only in the type locality, along volcanic rims surrounding the Butacó Creek, in the north part of the Tromen Massif, northern Patagonia, Pehuenches Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina ( Figure 4View FIGURE 4, 9View FIGURE 9).

Natural history. Little information about natural history and biology of this new species is available. Region were Phymaturus delheyi  was found is know as the Tromen Massif, a volcanic area were the most important volcanoes are Tromen, Cerro Negro del Tromen and Wayle (the Punmahuida  volcanic group). Vegetation is characteristic of the Payunia Phytogeographic District, and including shrubs such as Senna arnottiana  , S. kurtzi  , Mulinum spinosum  , and several species of grasses ( Stipa  spp). The holotype and paratypes were found by active search; usually they were spotted basking on the rocky outcrops or hiding in crevices. Phymaturus delheyi  shares its habitat with potentially new species of the Phymaturus palluma  group ( P. aff. roigorum  - Phymaturus  sp. 10, Morando et al., in review-), and other potentially new species belonging to the Liolaemus elongatus  group, Liolaemus buergeri  and Homonota darwinii  . No snakes were found in the area. The new species usually occupies the crevice microhabitat in the rocky outcrops, whereas the other species were found in rocky patches or open substrate. Phymaturus delheyi  is viviparous as other species of Phymaturus  ; a female kept in captivity gave birth two offspring, and was observed feeding on plant matter and arthropods (Perez pers. observ.).

TABLE 4. Morphometric and meristic variation in 8 individuals of the Phymaturus delheyi type series. Means and standard deviations (SD) of the main morphometric and meristic characters. Measures in mm and scales in numbers. SVL = Snouth-Vent Length.

  Males (N= 3) Mean   Females (N= 5) Mean  
    0.90 0.48 12.05 0.57    

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