Lygosoma peninsulare

Grismer, L. Lee, Quah, Evan S. H., Duzulkafly, Zaharil & Yambun, Paul, 2018, On the taxonomy of Lygosoma bampfyldei Bartlett, 1895 (Squamata: Scincidae) with descriptions of new species from Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia and the resurrection of Lygosoma schneideri Wer, Zootaxa 4438 (3), pp. 528-550: 538-541

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Lygosoma peninsulare

sp. nov.

Lygosoma peninsulare  sp. nov.

Peninsular Supple Skink

Figs. 4 View Figure , 5 View Figure , 6 View Figure & 7 View Figure

Lygosoma Bampfyldii Boulenger, 1900:192  (in part).

Lygosoma bampfyldii Boulenger, 1912:93  (in part); Smith, 1930:36 (in part).

Lygosoma bampfyldei de Rooji, 1915:263  (in part); Greer, 1977:915; Welch et al., 1990:83; Das & Yaakob, 2007:78; Grismer 2008:31; Das, 2010:238 (in part); Grismer, 2011:613 (in part).

Riopa bampfyldei Smith 1937:228  ; Manthey & Grossmann 1997:275 (in part); Chan-ard et al., 1999:27 (in part).

Mochlus bampfyledei Mittleman, 1952:22 

Riopa bampfyldii Denzer & Manthey, 1991:317 

Holotype. Adult male ( LSUHC 13857View Materials) collected by Zaharil Dzulkafly on 30 August 2016 13.5 km east of Jeli , Kelantan, Peninsular Malaysia (5° 44’ 31” N; 101° 57’ 39” E; about 440 m ASL).GoogleMaps 

Diagnosis. Lygosoma peninsulare  sp. nov. can be differentiated from all other Lygosoma  by having the combination of a relatively large (SVL = 119 mm) slender body (PEC/SVL = 0.12–0.13); seven supralabials; eight infralabials; midline contact of the supranasals; prefrontals not in contact; frontoparietal contacting three supraoculars; postinterparietal absent; seven superciliaries; two or three postsuboculars, the first being small; one primary and three secondary and tertiary temporals; three nuchal scales; a shallow postnasal groove extending from the nasal scale to below the anterior portion of the eye and lying below the anterior loreals and lower preocular and above the second and third supralabials; scaly lower eyelid, no window; 41 midbody scale rows; 87 paravertebral scale rows; 99 ventral scale rows; 29 caudal scale rows at the tenth subcaudal; seven large precloacal scales; strongly keeled subdigital finger lamellae, 11 lamellae on third finger; enlarged, fringe-like, keeled subdigital toe lamellae, 16 lamellae on fourth toe; raised, rectangular, large palmar scales numbering five across the base of the palm; head pattern consisting of a dark, broken frontal band and a continuous occipital band separated by a diffuse yellowish band; dark occipital band confluent with dark color of dorsum and tail; sides of tail bright red-orange. These characters are scored across all species in the L. bampfyldei  group in Table 2.

Description of holotype. Adult male, SVL 119 mm; tail length 150 mm; axilla-groin length 66.1 mm; head length 18.0 mm; rostral wider than long, in broad contact with supranasals; supranasals in broad contact medially and with frontonasal posteriorly; frontonasal wider than long; prefrontals relatively small, widely separated on midline; frontal elongate, widest anteriorly, in contact with first two supraoculars; five supraoculars, fifth smallest; frontoparietals in broad contact posterior to frontal, contacting second, third, and fourth supraoculars anterolaterally and parietals and interparietal posteriorly; frontoparietals non-overlapping; interparietal diamondshaped, large, slightly projecting posteriorly, eyespot in posterior projection; postinterparietal absent; parietals large, in medial contact posterior to interparietal, contacting fourth and fifth supraoculars anteriorly; one primary temporal; two secondary temporals; three tertiary temporals; three elongate nuchal scales between upper secondary temporals; nasals small, widely separated, trapezoidal, contacting rostral anteriorly, supranasal dorsally, anterior loreal posteriorly, first supralabial ventrally; nostril in center of nasal; anterior loreal taller than wide; posterior loreal wider than tall; upper and lower preoculars present; one presubocular; shallow preorbital groove separating lower preocular and loreals from supralabials two, three, and four; seven superciliaries, posterior superciliary elongate and projecting dorsomedially, bordered medially by fifth supraocular, posteriorly by postocular; three postsuboculars, first largest, in contact with fifth and sixth supralabials; seven supralabials, fourth, fifth, and sixth below eye; fifth supralabial large, in broad contact with eye; two postsupralabials; lower eyelid transparent, scaly, no enlarged central window; mental twice as wide as long; single, large postmental contacting first and second infralabials; two enlarged pairs of chinshields posterior to postmental, anterior pair contacting medially, contacting second and third infralabials; posterior pair of chinshields separated by a single scale, not contacting infralabials; eight infralabials; external ear opening narrow, vertical oval, approximately same diameter as eyeball, bearing three anterior lobules; and tympanum deep.

Body slender (PEC/SVL = 0.13; PELAbout PEL /SVL = 0.11); dorsal scales smooth, cycloid, imbricate; ventral scales smooth, same size dorsal scales; 41 longitudinal scale rows around midbody; 87 paravertebral scale rows; 99 ventral scale rows; seven enlarged precloacal scales; tail thick, round in cross-section, original; subcaudals same size as dorsal caudals; limbs, robust, short (FL/SVL = 0.21; HDL/SVL = 0.32), widely separated when adpressed; scales of dorsal surfaces slightly wider than those of ventral surfaces; palmar scales large, raised, sloped anteriorly with transversely oriented ridges; plantar scales large, raised, subtuberculate ( Fig. 8 View Figure ); all digits short, scales of dorsal surfaces in a single row; 11R,L subdigital lamellae on third finger; 16R,L subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; keels of subdigital lamellae of toes two, three and four sharp, raised to form a crenulated fringe, crenulations greatest on toes three and four ( Fig. 9 View Figure ); and subdigital lamellae of fingers strongly keeled, slightly raised.

Coloration in life ( Figs. 6 View Figure & 7 View Figure ). Top of head orangish, rostrum yellowish, sides of head yellow; dark frontal band reduced to eye patches that extend ventrally from supraorbital region to upper labial region, eyepatches not in medial contact; dark-brown occipital band extends across occiput from ear opening to ear opening and is confluent with the dark-brown dorsal region of the body and tail; neck and sides of body yellow bearing scales outlined in dark-brown producing a net-like appearance; top of forelimbs dark-brown; top of hind limbs dark-brown to orangish; sides of tail brilliant red-orange; underside of head limbs and body yellow; undersides of hands, feet, and digits dark-brown to black; and underside of tail orange.

Remarks. Boulenger (1900:193) reported on a specimen from Bukit Larut, Perak that he referred to as Lygosoma bampfyldii  . He noted differences between the Bukit Larut specimen and a syntype of L. bampfyldei  , specifically stating that in the Bukit Larut specimen the “dark brown of the occiput extends along the dorsal surface of the body and tail, the sides of which are reddish”. These are color pattern characters unique to L. peninsulare  sp. nov. and thus, we consider Boulenger’s specimen from Bukit Larut to be that species.

Etymology. The genus Lygosoma  is of neutral gender and the specific epithet, peninsulare  , is the neutral form of the Latin adjective peninsularis which translates to the English adjective “peninsular”. The specific epithet refers to this species being endemic to the Thai-Malay Peninsula.

Distribution ( Fig. 1 View Figure ). Lygosoma peninsulare  sp. nov. is known only from Peninsular Malaysia at the type locality 13.5 km east of Jeli, Kelantan and from Bukit Larut, Perak ( Boulenger 1900).

Natural history. At the type locality, Lygosoma peninsulare  sp. nov. occurs in hill dipterocarp forest at approximately 440 m in elevation. The exact collecting locality of the Bukit Larut specimen is unknown but presumably it was somewhere between the old Tea Garden at 600 m and Gunung Hijau at 1368 m. Unfortunately, no natural history data were associated with its collection. At the type locality, L. peninsulare  sp. nov. is associated with a leaf litter microhabitat amongst granite boulders ( Fig. 10 View Figure ). The holotype was found by ZD while monitoring an excavator that was clearing the forest to make a track within a gold mining project. The skink emerged from beneath the surface of the ground in a spot that had just been cleared. This observation, along with its elongate body and reduced limbs indicate that this is a semi-fossorial to fossorial species. The thickened and opaque-colored rostral, supranasals, nasals, mental, and first supralabials and infralabials ( Fig. 6 View Figure ) also suggests such a lifestyle as these characteristics are common among other semi-fossorial and fossorial skinks and dibamids in Peninsular Malaysia (e.g. Larutia  and Dibamus  [ Grismer 2011; Quah et al. 2017]).

The status of Lygosoma peninsulare  sp. nov. in Kelantan state is potentially threatened as there is a gold mining project encompassing the type locality. Despite being part of Jedok Forest Reserve, the state-approved gold mining project covers an area of 200 hectares. The Jedok Forest Reserve is a relatively small, fragmented halfmoon shape area covering 4,382 hectares. A road cutting through the reserve and the gold mining project will cause further habitat fragmentation and the potential extirpation of L. peninsulare  from this area. Therefore, it is important that measures be put into place that will preserve the remaining, intact, unaltered habitat in the Jedok Forest Reserve.

Comparisons. Lygosoma peninsulare  sp. nov. differs from all other species of the bampfyldei  group in having a shallow vs. a deep postnasal groove; 87 vs 81–85 ( L. bamphfyldei  ) or 95 ( L. schneideri  ) or 98 ( L. kinabatanganensis  sp. nov.) paravertebral scales; strongly keeled vs smooth to weakly keeled finger lamellae; enlarged fringe-like vs. keeled subdigital lamellae; sharply raised vs. low and rounded palmar scales; five vs. seven or eight scales across the base of the palm; an incomplete vs. complete frontal band; occipital band confluent vs. not confluent with the color of dorsum; and the sides of tail being bright red-orange vs. olive or grey. Other characters differentially separating L. peninsulare  sp. nov. from various combinations of the other species are listed in Table 2.


Universidade Federal de Pelotas














Lygosoma peninsulare

Grismer, L. Lee, Quah, Evan S. H., Duzulkafly, Zaharil & Yambun, Paul 2018


Lygosoma Bampfyldii Boulenger, 1900 :192

Boulenger, 1900 :192


Lygosoma bampfyldii

Boulenger, 1912 :93 Smith, 1930 :36


Lygosoma bampfyldei

Greer, 1977 :915 Welch et al., 1990 :83 Das & Yaakob, 2007 :78 Grismer 2008 :31 Das, 2010 :238 Grismer, 2011 :613


Riopa bampfyldei

Smith 1937 :228 Manthey & Grossmann 1997 :275 Chan-ard et al., 1999 :27


Mochlus bampfyledei

Mittleman, 1952 :22


Riopa bampfyldii

Denzer & Manthey, 1991 :317