Enyalioides altotambo , Torres-Carvajal, Omar, Venegas, Pablo J. & de Queiroz, Kevin, 2015

Torres-Carvajal, Omar, Venegas, Pablo J. & de Queiroz, Kevin, 2015, Three new species of woodlizards (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from northwestern South America, ZooKeys 494, pp. 107-132: 109-111

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scientific name

Enyalioides altotambo

sp. n.

Taxon classification Animalia Squamata Hoplocercidae

Enyalioides altotambo  sp. n.

Enyalioides altotambo  Proposed standard English name: Alto Tambo woodlizards

Enyalioides altotambo  Proposed standard Spanish name: lagartijas de palo de Alto Tambo

Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  (part) Torres-Carvajal et al. 2011: 23.

Type material.

Holotype. QCAZ 8073 (Fig. 1), an adult male from Alto Tambo, 5 km on road to Placer, Bosque Integral Otokiki, 0.90600°N; - 78.60600°W (DD), 620 m, Provincia Esmeraldas, Ecuador, collected on 2 May 2010 by I.G. Tapia, D. Almeida-Reinoso, J.M. Guayasamin and L.A. Coloma.

Paratype. ECUADOR: Provincia Esmeraldas: QCAZ 6671, adult female, Alto Tambo, Balthazar river, 0.90000°N; - 78.61667°W, 645 m, collected on 5 November 2005 by F. Ayala-Varela and I.G. Tapia.


Enyalioides altotambo  differs from other species of Enyalioides  , except for Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  , in having dorsal scales that are both smooth and homogeneous in size. It can be distinguished from Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  (character states in parentheses) by the following characters: iris brown in both sexes (iris bright red in both sexes); scales on lateral edge of skull roof just posterior to superciliaries strongly projected (moderately projected); adults of both sexes with light green spots on dorsum (if present, spots turquoise or blue); adult males with a black medial patch on gular region not extending dorsally to form an antehumeral bar (black patch under gular fold extending dorsally to form a short antehumeral bar); scales on flanks almost homogenous in size (flank scales heterogeneous in size, with a few enlarged, circular, keeled scales); pale postympanic stripe on lateral aspect of neck in both sexes (pale postympanic spot in both sexes), posterior surface of thighs without enlarged scales (scattered enlarged scales), tail length/total length 0.57-0.60 (0.59-0.62).

Description of holotype.

Male (Fig. 1); SVL = 119 mm; TL = 160 mm; maximum head width = 21.9 mm; head length = 29.8 mm; head height = 20.3 mm; dorsal head scales keeled or multicarinate, projected dorsally; parietal eye present; eight scales immediately posterior to superciliaries conical, dorsolaterally projected, and conspicuously larger than adjacent scales; temporal scales small, pyramidal, low; one large conical pretympanic scale; superciliaries 17; canthals five; postrostrals three; supralabials 13 if counted to a point below middle of eye; rostral divided into three small scales, similar in size to adjacent supralabials; one longitudinal row of lorilabials between suboculars and supralabials at level of middle of eye, longitudinal rows of lorilabials anterior to this point two; loreal region with small, keeled, and juxtaposed scales; nasal at level of supralabials V–VI; infralabials 11 if counted to a point below middle of eye; mental (1.68 mm wide × 1.98 mm high) slightly wider and 1.5 times higher than adjacent infralabials; postmentals three; gulars ventrally projected and separated from each other by skin covered with tiny granular scales; gular fold complete midventrally, extending dorsally and posteriorly to form an antehumeral fold; neck with some oblique folds, and a dorsolateral row of enlarged scales; distal aspect of oblique fold immediately anterior to antehumeral fold with approximately six enlarged scales similar in size to gulars, but more than three or four times the size of adjacent fold scales.

Vertebral crest strongly projected and decreasing in size posteriorly, with vertebrals on neck at least four times higher than those between hind limbs; crest bifurcates at a point approximately 10 mm posterior to the cloaca, and extends onto tail about 1/3 its length; body flanks between fore and hind limbs with slight dorsolateral fold; scales on dorsolateral fold slightly larger than adjacent scales; dorsal and flank scales small, smooth, imbricate, more or less homogeneous in size; ventral scales imbricate, keeled, rectangular or rhomboid, with a posterolateral mucron; ventrals more than twice the size (area) of dorsals.

Limb scales keeled dorsally and keeled or feebly keeled ventrally; scales on dorsal and posterior aspects of thighs heterogeneous in size, with most scales less than half the size of those scales on anterior and ventral aspects, separated from each other by skin covered with tiny granular scales; subdigitals on finger IV 25; subdigitals on toe IV 29; femoral pores on each side one; tail laterally compressed and gradually tapering posteriorly; caudal scales smooth at the base of tail, becoming keeled and imbricate towards tip, gradually increasing in size posteriorly on lateral and dorsal aspects of each caudal segment; caudals larger ventrally than dorsally; individual caudal segments three scales long ventrally and seven scales long dorsally.

Color in life of holotype

(Fig. 1). Head light green with a few black and dark brown scales; superciliaries, canthals and labials yellow; bluish cream blotch, wider than high, behind tympanum; pretympanic scales bluish cream; dorsal body background light green with a fine dark brown reticulation and scattered bluish cream scales; vertebrals yellowish green; tail green with incomplete dark brown rings; black irregular marks on limbs, covering most of hands and feet; chin white; gular region bluish cream anterolaterally grading into yellowish green and then bluish green posteriorly, with a posteromedial black patch; ventral aspect of body, limbs and tail dirty cream; flank color pattern extending onto ventrolateral aspect of body; iris brown with golden ring around pupil.


Variation in meristic and morphometric characters of Enyalioides altotambo  are presented in Table 2. The single female paratype (QCAZ 6671; Fig. 2) is similar in lepidosis and color patterns to the holotype. It differs from the holotype in lacking a black gular patch, and in having a longer pale postympanic stripe, a yellow chin, and a yellow gular region. Furthermore, the scales on the lateral edge of the skull roof and those forming the vertebral crest are more projected in the female (Fig. 2); however, this variation could be ontogenetic rather than sexual because the female is larger (SVL = 134 mm) than the male (SVL = 119).


Enyalioides altotambo  is only known from two adjacent localities at 620-645 m in the Chocoan rainforests of northwestern Ecuador (Fig. 3). Female paratype QCAZ 6671 was found at 5:30 pm with its head facing up on a tree trunk.


The specific epithet is a noun in apposition and refers to Alto Tambo, Provincia Esmeraldas, Ecuador, a village on the Ibarra-San Lorenzo road where Enyalioides altotambo  was discovered.


Although previously referred to Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  , the possibility that the specimens here named Enyalioides altotambo  represented a distinct species was recognized in previous studies. In a phylogenetic analysis of hoplocercine lizards, Torres-Carvajal and de Queiroz (2009) found " Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  " to be paraphyletic relative to Enyalioides touzeti  based on three samples of " Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  ". One of them corresponded to the paratype of Enyalioides altotambo  , and was sister to a clade containing the sister taxa Enyalioides touzeti  and Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  . Torres-Carvajal et al. (2011) noted that the color of the iris in live specimens of " Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  " from Alto Tambo was not bright red as in live specimens of " Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  " from other localities and suggested that the two forms represented separate species. Nonetheless, these authors found no other differences between the two potential species and refrained from associating the name Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  with one versus the other because the type locality data of Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  is vague ( “Ecuador”), and the color of the iris was not recorded in its original description ( Boulenger 1881). Here we recognize known populations other than that at Alto Tambo as Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  based on the enlarged, circular and keeled scales scattered on the flanks of Enyalioides oshaughnessyi  (absent in Enyalioides altotambo  ), as described and illustrated in its original description (Fig. 4; Boulenger 1881).