Panaspis namibiana Ceríaco, Branch & Bauer

Ceríaco, Luis M. P., Branch, William R. & Bauer, Aaron M., 2018, A new species of African snake-eyed skink (Scincidae: Panaspis) from central and northern Namibia, Zootaxa 4527 (1), pp. 140-150: 142-147

publication ID

https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4527.1.12

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:9AE0FA92-ED69-4EA7-85E2-9A6C62D8DAAA

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/FC0487E5-FFC1-9D22-F1E0-64774BA05CA3

treatment provided by

Plazi

scientific name

Panaspis namibiana Ceríaco, Branch & Bauer
status

sp. nov.

Panaspis namibiana Ceríaco, Branch & Bauer  sp. nov.

( Fig. 1–2View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2)

Chresonymy (includes only citations unambiguously pertaining to specimens referable to the new species, or explicitly stating or depicting its geographic range).

Ablepharus wahlbergi ( Lawrence 1929:26) 

Ablepharus wahlbergii  ( FitzSimons 1943:236; Mertens 1955:74, pl. 23, fig. 143; Mertens 1971:64)

Panaspis (Afroablepharus) wahlbergi ( Visser 1984:59) 

Panaspis wahlbergii  ( Branch 1988:134; Bauer et al. 1993:134; Branch 1994:134; Branch 1998:159).

Panaspis  sp. nov. ( Griffin 2003:60).

Afroblepharus wahlbergi ( Herrmann & Branch 2013:29)  .

Afroablepharus sp. Namibia ( Medina et al. 2016:411).

Holotype. CAS 206967View Materials, unsexed subadult, adjacent to Opuwo Road (D3704), 21 km N of Palmweg / Sesfontein Road (D3706) (18.9628333° S, 13.758666° E; WGS-84; Fig. 3View FIGURE 3), Kunene Region, Republic of Namibia, collected by Aaron M. Bauer, A. C. Lamb, J.L. Wright, P. Moler, W.R. Branch and R.D. Babb on 25 July 1998 ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1).GoogleMaps 

Paratypes. Ten specimens, all from the Republic of Namibia: MCZAbout MCZ R183767View Materials  , unsexed subadult, Sesfontein, Paracamp , Kunene Region (19.13222222° S, 13.5877777° E; WGS-84), collected by Aaron M. Bauer and Anthony P. Russell on 11 December 2002; MCZAbout MCZ R 190318View MaterialsGoogleMaps  , unsexed subadult, Kamanjab Rest Camp , Kunene Region (19.629611° S, 14.682417° E; WGS-84) collected by Aaron M. Bauer on 29 November 2011; CM 130371View Materials ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2)GoogleMaps  , unsexed adult, 80 air km E Sesfontein, 60 Air km WNW Kamanjab , Kunene Region (19.332654° S, 14.369919° E; WGS-84), collected by Paul Freed et al. on 3 April 1992 ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4); LACM 77840View MaterialsGoogleMaps  , unsexed adult, 40 km WNW Grootfontein , Otjozondjupa Region (19.48333° S, 17.73333° E; WGS-84), collected by R.L. Bezy on 20 November 1973; LACM 77841View Materials, 77842View MaterialsGoogleMaps  , unsexed adults, same collecting data as LACM 77840View Materials; PEMAbout PEM R2123View Materials  , unsexed adult, Kaoko Otavi , Kunene Region (18.3° S, 13.7° E; WGS-84), collected by G. Mclachlan and J. Spence on 14 October 1965; PEM 2124View MaterialsGoogleMaps  , unsexed subadult, same collecting data as PEMAbout PEM R2123View Materials; PEMAbout PEM R10262View Materials  , unsexed adult, Okahandja , Otjozondjupa Region (21.983333° S, 16.916667° E; WGS-84), collected by R. Bradfield on 23 April 1929; PEMAbout PEM R10273View MaterialsGoogleMaps  , unsexed adult, same collecting data as PEMAbout PEM R10262View Materials  .

Additional material. SMFAbout SMF 46570View Materials, Farm Beula , Kunene Region (19.6608° S, 14.91185 E; WGS-84)GoogleMaps  ; SMFAbout SMF 50620View Materials, Okahandja , Otjozondjupa Region, (21.983333° S, 16.916667°E; WGS-84)GoogleMaps  ; SMFAbout SMF 66144View Materials, Warmquelle near Zesfontein , Kunene Region (19.182° S, 13.81384° E; WGS-84)GoogleMaps  ; SMF 67050View Materials -02View Materials, 60View Materials mi. east of Okahandja , Otjozondjupa Region (21.623° S, 17.64941° E; WGS-84); SAMAbout SAMGoogleMaps  0 17483, Kaoko Otavi , Kunene Region (18.3°S, 13.7°E; WGS-84); SAMAbout SAMGoogleMaps  0 17557, Okorosave , Kunene Region (18.17° S, 13.8° E; WGS-84); SAMAbout SAMGoogleMaps  0 46548, Tsumeb Townlands (19.23° S, 17.72° E; WGS-84), Oshikoto Region; PEMAbout PEMGoogleMaps  R8845View Materials, 2View Materials km south of Grootfontein , Otjozondjupa Region (19.3206° S, 18.39306° E, WGS-84); TMGoogleMaps  85249, Farm Uisib 422, Otjozondjupa Region (19.5531° S, 17.21667° E, WGS-84); SMWAbout SMWGoogleMaps  1946, Namutoni , Oshikoto Region (18.80776° S, 16.940231° E, WGS-84), SMWAbout SMWGoogleMaps  1947, Kaoko Otavi , Kunene Region (18.3° S, 13.7°E; WGS-84); SMWAbout SMWGoogleMaps  1948, Klein Windhoek , Khomas Region (22.578° S, 17.10083° E, WGS-84); SMWAbout SMWGoogleMaps  1949, Windhoek , Khomas Region (22.5613° S, 17.07214° E; WGS-84); SMWAbout SMWGoogleMaps  5700, Barab on Palmwag 702, Kunene Region (19.8214° S, 13.7614° E; WGS-84); SMWAbout SMWGoogleMaps  6471, Warmquelle , Kunene Region (19.182° S, 13.81384° E; WGS-84)GoogleMaps  .

Diagnosis. Panaspis namibiana  sp. nov. can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characteristics: 1) absence of supranasals; 2) ablepharine eye (as defined by Greer 1974); 3) frontoparietals fused; 4) dorsum coppery-brown, with a dorsolateral light stripe extending approximately to midbody, and a thin darker band starting on the temporals and extending to midbody; 5) absence of rows of light spots on the neck; 6) absence of a white ventrolateral stripe.

Description of the holotype. Unsexed subadult in good condition. Arrangement and relative size of head, body and tail scales typical for Panaspis  . Robust, cylindrical body with well-developed pentadactyl limbs. Fore- and hind-limbs do not overlap when adpressed against the body. SVL 29.6 mm, tail length 38.6 mm. Head length 5.9 mm, with relatively acuminate snout (HL 184% HW). Other relevant measurements are presented in Table 1. Rostral wider than high, and visible from above. Nasals widely separated behind rostral by frontonasal. Frontonasal acuminate anteriorly, wider than long. Nostrils small, set posteriorly in the nasals but not bordering the postnasal. Prefrontals in contact with one another (atypical considering the type series), hexagonal, contacting frontonasal, loreals, first supraocular, first supraciliary and frontal. Two loreals, the posterior margins of the largest loreal border preocular, which is wider than high. Frontal length shorter than distance between anterior tip of frontal and tip of snout; frontal in contact with prefrontals anteriorly, two supraoculars (one on each side) and frontoparietals. Frontoparietals fused, in contact with the frontal, three supraoculars, parietals and interparietal. Frontoparietal plus interparietal length 2.2 times length of the frontal. Interparietal quadrangular with visible parietal foramen in anterior part; parietals 1.2 times larger than frontoparietals and contacting each other at the anterior point of the interparietal. Parietals in contact. A pair of large, broad nuchals collectively bordered by a total of nine dorsals. Supraoculars three. Supraciliaries three (left side) and four (right side), third largest. Pretemporals two. Tympanum visible, approximately one fifth the height of the eye. Supralabials six, the fifth and sixth being the suboculars. Ablepharine eye. Infralabials five. Postmental bordering five scales (mental, two primary chin-shields, and one infralabial on each side). Ventral scales smooth. MSR 22, SAD 58, SAV 55. Limbs with five digits; scales on soles of hands and feet smooth. Relative length of digits of manus IV=III>II=V>I relative length of digits of pes IV>III>II>I>V. Finger-IV scales 9 (right side), Toe-IV scales 13 (right side). Tail long, robust and tapering smoothly.

In preservative, background color of flanks and upper side of head, neck, dorsum, legs and tail is coppery brown, with a darker dot in the anterior part of each scale. Posteriorly the tail is lighter, with disjunct dark speckles. A beige stripe, less than one scale wide, limited by the dorsal background color above and by a thin stripe of darker brown below (especially evident under the anterior part of eye), extends from the temporals and runs along the dorsolateral surface to the midbody. Areas below the dark brown stripe become lighter, until they reach the ventral side, which is beige. Supralabials light beige anteriorly and posteriorly, with strong coppery brown markings in the middle. This pattern extends to the infralabials. Venter uniformly light-beige, as are the palmar regions of hands and feet.

Variation. Variaton in scalation and body measurements of the paratypes of Panaspis namibiana  sp. nov. is reported in Table 1. The majority of the paratypes agree entirely with the holotype, except regarding the contact between the prefrontals, which are separated in paratypes CM 130371View Materials, LACM 77841View Materials,  LACM 77842View Materials  , PEMAbout PEM R10273View Materials  , and narrowly separated in LACM 77840View Materials  , PEMAbout PEM R2124View Materials  and PEMAbout PEM R 10262View Materials  .

Comparison with other South and Southwestern African Panaspis  . As the molecular framework of Medina et al. (2016) provided evidence of the independence of the P. namibiana  lineage from all other taxa, we here restrict our morphological comparisons to those named congeners occurring in Namibia, Angola, Botswana and South Africa. The extreme morphological conservatism of Panaspis  limits diagnostic characters for most species (except P. cabindae  ) to subtle features, chiefly related to coloration pattern. Comparing P. namibiana  sp. nov. with P. cabindae  , the newly described species can be easily distinguished by not having supranasals (present in P. cabindae  ), by having a ablepharine eye (preablepharine eye in P. cabindae  ), and by having the frontoparietals fused (divided in P. cabindae  ). In comparison with P. wahlbergi  , P. namibiana  sp. nov. can be distinguished by its coloration, namely by the lack of the broad black lateral stripe and bordering ventrolateral white stripe extending from the supralabials through the ear to the groin (males) or terminating behind the shoulder (females). Panaspis namibiana  sp. nov. can be distinguished from nominotypical P. maculicollis  on the basis of the lack of black patch extending from ear to just beyond the shoulder with two or three vertical or diagonal rows of white spots.

Distribution. The newly described species is currently only known from central and northern Namibia. Confirmed localities are in three clusters, one in the northwest above the Western Escarpment from Sesfontein in the south to near Opuwo in the north, one in the Otavi Highlands, and a third in central Namibia in the Khomas Hochland ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3). It is likely that the species occurs in the intervening regions at higher elevations where appropriate habitat is available, but further sampling is needed to confirm its presence.

Habitat and Natural History notes. With the exception of Paracamp, near Sesfontein (~ 650 m), all localities are above 1200 m. The species is terrestrial and is typically found under leaf litter or other debris. Although most specimens were captured by day, MCZ R183767 was active in the leaf litter well after sunset ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4).

Specimen CAS MCZ MCZ CM LACM LACM LACM PEM PEM PEM PEM

206967 R-183767 R- 190318 130371 77840 77841 77842 R 2123 R 2124 R 10262 R 10273

(holotype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) (paratype) Locality Opuwo Paracamp, Kamanjab 80 km E 40 km 40 km 40 km Kaoko Otavi Kaoko Otavi Okahandja Okahandja

road, 21 km Sesfontein Sesfontein, WNW WNW WNW

N of 60 km Grootfontein Grootfontein Grootfontein

Palmweg- WNW

Sesfontein Kamanjab

road SVL 29.6 30.8 30.1 35.6 39.8 34.8 33.0 35.4 29.3 42.6 38.7

TL 38.6 Broken Broken Broken Broken Broken Broken Broken Broken 50.0 55.7

HL 5.9 5.6 5.9 5.7 5.5 5.5 6.0 5.7 5.5 5.8 5.6

HH 2.5 2.5 2.0 2.2 2.2 2.4 2.3 2.6 2.3 2.6 3.2

HW 3.2 3.6 3.9 3.1 3.2 3.7 3.8 3.5 3.2 3.6 3.8

LA 1.8 2.5 2.3 1.7 1.7 2.0 2.0 2.5 2.1 3.1 3.3

LFA 1.6 2.2 1.8 2.3 2.3 2.5 2.8 2.3 2.1 2.6 2.8

LL 3.5 3.5 3.3 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.9 3.2 3.1 3.5 3.8

LFL 2.8 3.3 2.5 4.1 4.0 4.5 4.0 3.1 3.0 3.3 3.5

LD 18.3 19.0 18.4 22.1 25.0 20.4 20.1 20.7 17.3 24.8 23.0

ED 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.1 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.0 1.2 1.2

ET 2.7 2.3 2.4 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.3 2.3 2.6

ES 2.3 2.3 2.2 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.2 2.7 2.4 2.3 2.5

MSR 26 25 24 25 25 25 26 24 24 24 22

SAV 64 65 63 64 67 64 65 67 56 66 59

SAD 60 64 60 63 65 63 64 68 57 68 58

LUFT 15 16 14 15 14 15 16 13 14 15 -

LUFF 11 11 10 12 10 10 10 11 9 9 8

SC (Left/ 4/4 4/4 4/4 5/5 4/4 4/4 4/5 4/4 4/4 5/5 4/4 Right) SL 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 6 6/7

CP In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact In contact

CPF In contact In contact In contact Separated Narrowly Separated Separated Broad Narrowly Narrowly Separated

separated contact separated separated

Etymology. The specific epithet “ namibiana  ” refers to the Republic of Namibia, to which the species is apparently endemic, and is applied here as a substantive in apposition. We propose the English vernacular name “Namibian Snake-Eyed Skink.”

MCZ

Museum of Comparative Zoology

CM

Chongqing Museum

PEM

Port Elizabeth Museum

SMF

Forschungsinstitut und Natur-Museum Senckenberg

SAM

South African Museum

TM

Teylers Museum, Paleontologische

SMW

State Museum

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Family

Scincidae

Genus

Panaspis

Loc

Panaspis namibiana Ceríaco, Branch & Bauer

Ceríaco, Luis M. P., Branch, William R. & Bauer, Aaron M. 2018
2018
Loc

Panaspis wahlbergii

Branch, W. R. 1998: 159
Branch, W. R. 1994: 134
Bauer, A. M. & Branch, W. R. & Haacke, W. D. 1993: 134
Branch, W. R. 1988: 134
1988
Loc

Ablepharus wahlbergii

Mertens, R. 1971: 64
Mertens, R. 1955: 74
FitzSimons, V. F. 1943: 236
1943