Liolaemus purul, S, Abdala C., Azocar, Moreno & Paz, Bonino M. M., 2012

S, Abdala C., Azocar, Moreno & Paz, Bonino M. M., 2012, Taxonomic study and morphology based phylogeny of the patagonic clade Liolaemus melanops group (Iguania: Liolaemidae), with the description of three new taxa, Zootaxa 3163, pp. 1-32 : 12-17

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.246295


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Liolaemus purul

sp. nov.

Liolaemus purul sp. nov.

Figs. 6–9 View FIGURE 6 View FIGURE 7 View FIGURE 8 View FIGURE 9

1986 Liolaemus boulengeri . J. M. Cei. M. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Torino Monogr. 4: 220.

2003 Liolaemus cf. boulengeri Etheridge R. and M. Christie, J. Herpetol. 37 (2): 325–342.

2006 Liolaemus loboi Abdala C.S. and J. F. Lobo, Herpetol. Rev. 37 (1): 107.

2007 Liolaemus boulengeri Pincheira-Donoso, D., J. A. Scolaro and J. A. Schulte II, Zootaxa, 1452: 25–42.

Holotype.- FML 24153 View Materials ( FBC 1694): 6 km N of San Ignacio, on the way to Zapala National Route 40, Department La Rinconada, Neuquén Province, Argentina. 39 ° 50´54.4 " S 70 ° 39´52.6 " W 1071 m. C. Abdala, M. Bonino, F. Cruz, L. Moreno Azócar, R. V. Semhan Cols. 3 /XII/ 2009.

Paratypes.— FML 24154 View Materials – 163: Same locality and data of the holotype.

FML 24164 View Materials – 165: toward Primeros Pinos on provincial route 13, Department Zapala, Neuquén Province, Argentina. 38 ° 52´16.1 " S 70 ° 19´17.9 " W. 1275 m. C. Abdala, M. Bonino, F. Cruz, L. Moreno Azócar, R. V. Semhan Cols. 2 /XII/ 2009.–

FML 24166 View Materials – 168: 41 km W of Zapala and 1 km S of provincial route 13, Department Zapala, Neuquén Province, Argentina. 38 ° 51´14.4 " S 70 ° 30´22,3" W. 1288 m. C. Abdala, M. Bonino, F. Cruz, L. Moreno Azócar, R. V. Semhan Cols. 2 /XII/ 2009.–

FML 21473 View Materials – 74: Parque Nacional Laguna Blanca, near Park Ranger station, Department Zapala, Neuquén Province, Argentina. 39 ° 02' 38.5 " S 70 ° 19 ' 36.4 " W, 1272 m. C. Abdala, A. S. Quinteros, G. Scrocchi, and J. C. Stazzonelli cols. 18 /XI/ 2007.

FML: 21482: Parque Nacional Laguna Blanca, Department Zapala, Neuquén Province, Argentina. C. Abdala, A. S. Quinteros, G. Scrocchi, and J. C. Stazzonelli cols. 18 /XI/ 2007.

FML: 21499; 21534 – 35: Provincial route 46, Laguna Blanca National Park, entering gate, Department Zapala, Neuquén Province, Argentina. 39 ° 02' 55.8 " S 70 ° 16 ' 36.2 " W, 1306 m. C. Abdala, A. S. Quinteros, G. Scrocchi, and J. C. Stazzonelli cols. 17 /XI/ 2007.

FML 22211 View Materials : 2 km S from Collón–Curá bridge, Department Collón-Curá, Neuquén Province, Argentina. C. S.Abdala, J. S. Abdala and E. Malovini cols. 18 /I/ 2002.

FML 22187 View Materials – 88: 35 km S from Collón-Curá, Department Collón-Curá, Neuquén Province, Argentina C. S.Abdala, J. S. Abdala and E. Malovini cols. 18 /I/ 2002

Liolaemus purul belongs to the L. melanops group. Within this group, this species differenciates from the species belonging to L. fitzingerii group because of its smaller SVL ( L. purul maximum SVL 77.1 mm vs. 89–106 mm in the adult members of the L. fitzingerii group: L. canqueli , L. casamiquelai , L. chehuachekenk , L. fitzingerii , L. melanops , L. morenoi , L. xanthoviridis ). The new species, L. purul , shows sexual dichromatism, body shape is not cylindrical (torpedo like), and it lacks the melanic antehumeral band. This new species is different from L. mapuche and L. cuyanus , because the former species is smaller (maximum SVL in L. purul 77.1 mm vs. 83 and 102 mm in L. mapuche and L. cuyanus , respectively); it has four scales in contact with the mental scale (six in L. cuyanus and between four and six in L. mapuche ).

This taxon is different from Liolaemus donosobarrosi by having different dorsally and ventrally coloration patterns and because the number of scales around midbody is lower in the new taxon (58– 72 X = 65.6 vs. 79–95; X = 85,4 in L. donosobarrosi ).

Conversely to Liolaemus goetschi , the new species has a higher number of ventral scales 96–106 (X = 101.6) vs. 79–89 (X = 74.2) in L. goetschi ; it has four scales in contact with the mental scale (4–6 en L. goetschi ). Liolaemus purul does not show paravertebral spots that forms a dark colored line with a wavy shaped white spot on the posterior part of each spot that is present in L. goetschi . In this new species, males are ventrally melanic, supralabials alternately light and darkly colored. Flanks and sides of the head show light blue and green scales in L. purul . The new taxon is distinguishible from Liolaemus hermannunezi by having a larger body size; SVL 77.1 mm vs. 64.1 mm. in L. hermannunezi . Males in L. purul possess supralabial scales in alternated colors (light and dark). There are green and light blue scales at the sides of the head and midbody in L. purul and the melanic gular region is greater in L. purul than in L. hermannunezi . The new taxon is different from L. josei by having four scales in contact to the mental scale (4–6 in L. josei ); it has noticeable scapular specs.

Among other differences, L. purul is larger than L. martorii (SVL 77.1 mm vs. 67.1 mm); the new species lacks of dark paravertebral spots, or if present the dark line is bordered in white. The new species does not have two banded-shaped spots on the gular region (present in L. martorii ). Males of L. purul show a clear ventral melanism; supralabials show alternated dark and light colored scales and light blue and greenish specs on the head sides, midbody and tail.

The differences between Liolaemus purul and L. boulengeri are: larger SVL in L. purul (77.1 mm vs. 69.0 mm), supralabials alternately dark and light colored, light blue and green scales on the sides of the head, body and tail. The predominance of ventral melanism is higher in L. purul than in L. boulengeri , and the former species never shows a reddish belly, typical of L. boulengeri .

It differs from Liolaemus inacayali by the presence of scapular spots in males, scales light blue or greenish on the sides of the head, midbody and tail, absent in L. inacayali . In addition, males of L. purul exhibit ventral melanism and a lower number of ventral scales, 96–106 (X = 101.6), than L. inacayali 107–118 (X = 112.6).

The differences between Liolaemus loboi and L. purul are: the presence of supralabials alternately dark and light colored, ventral melanism and light blue and green scales on the sides of the head, body and tail in the new taxon, absent in L. loboi .

Liolaemus rothi is larger than L. purul (max 92.0 mm SVL vs 77.1 mm); the new species has scapular spots and males exhibit broad and marked melanism, all these characteristics are absent in L. rothi

Liolaemus purul differs from L. sagei by its smaller SVL (max SVL 77.1 mm vs. 92.8 mm), a smaller number of ventral scales (96–106, X = 101.6, vs. 110–124, X = 118.3), and the dorsum (64–83, X = 71.6, vs. 85–98, X = 90.6) and by possessing evident scapular specs and ventral melanism.

The new species is different from Liolaemus senguer because it is larger in SVL (77.1 mm vs. 62.3 mm.), the new species has supralabials alternately dark and light colored, light blue and green scales on the sides of the head, body and tail. Additionally, L. senger shows a typical blue ventral coloration not present in L. purul .

Liolaemus purul differs from L. tehuelche because males show a broader melanic surface; flank coloration is different, red or intense yellow in L. tehuelche and light blue or greenish in L. purul . Supralabials and infralabials show differences in coloration and pattern between both species.

This new species is different from L. telsen by having a lower number of scales around the midbody (58–72; X = 65,6 vs. 74–84; X = 77,5), lower number of dorsal scales (64–83; X = 71,6 vs. 83–96; X = 88,8), larger SVL (77.1 mm vs. 68.8 mm). Liolaemus purul exhibits a more intense ventral melanism, supralabials alternately dark and light colored and light blue and green scales on the sides of the head, body and tail, all these characteristics are different in L. telsen .

Description of the holotype. Adult male. SVL 77.1 mm. Trunk length 34.8 mm. Head longer (16.7 mm) than wide (13.2 mm). Head height 8.7 mm. Eye diameter 5.58 mm. Interorbital distance 9.2 mm. Orbit–auditory meatus distance 6.19 mm. Auditory meatus height 2.3 mm; 2.2 mm wide. Orbit–commissure of mouth distance 2.20 mm. Internares 3.01 mm. Subocular scale 5.44 mm. Femur length 13.8 mm, tibia 14.6 mm, and foot 21.8 mm. Humerus length 9.8 mm, radius length 8.8 mm, and hand 10.9 mm. Base of the tail 10.3. Tail length 104.2 mm.

Dorsal surface of the head smooth, with 17 scales. Rostral wider than high, bordered by eight scales. Mental larger than rostral, trapezoidal, bordered by four scales. Nasal not in contact with rostral. Four internasals. Nasal scale surrounded by six scales, separated from canthal scale by two scales. Six scales between frontal and supercilliaries. Seven scales between frontal and rostral. Frontal divided in four. Two postrostrals. Interparietal is larger than parietals, also contacting with five scales. Orbital semicircles incomplete. Six supraoculars. Preocular separated from lorilabial row by one scale. Three scales in anterior margin of auditory meatus. Twelve smooth temporals. Seven lorilabials, two of them in contact with subocular scale. Eight supralabials, none in contact with subocular. Six infralabials, second in contact, ventrally, with two scales. Five chinshields, second pair separated by two scales.

Sixty five scales around midbody. Sixty four round, imbricate, and keeled dorsals from occiput to hind limbs. Scales of flank same size and shape than dorsals. Ninety six ventrals, flat and imbricate. Eleven scales in pigal region. Thirty three smooth weakly imbricate gulars. Nine precloacal pores. Antehumeral scales flat, larger or equal in size than dorsals. Postauricular, rictal, and longitudinal folds present. Scales on the longitudinal fold, granular and smooth. Fourth finger with 23 subdigital lamellae; fourth toe with 27. Infracarpals flat, imbricate, and not trifid. Infratarsals flat, imbricate, and not trifid. Teeth crown shaped, with three deep and expanded cuspids.

Color in life. Figs 6–7 View FIGURE 6 View FIGURE 7 . Head dark gray on the sides and top with several scales with tiny light colored spots. Subocular grey greenish with dark spots. Supralabials, part of loreolabials and infralabials show alternance of light green or light blue with darker scales. Upper and lower temporal regions with scales and specks light blue colored. Trunk has two series of eleven subsquarely shaped paravertebral stains and two series of five lateral black spots. Dorsum and flanks of body are yellow-brownish, speckled with numerous intense green, light blue and yellow scales. The vertebral region has a discontinuous longitudinal line of light yellow scales. There is no vertebral line or dorsolateral band; vertebral line or dorsolateral band when present are not notorious. There are two large black scapular spots on each side, the prescapular one larger than the postscapular. There is also a small spot, but sharply marked previous to the prescapular spot. Together, the scapular spots form a pseudo vertical band. Fore and hind limbs are light grey, forelimbs with numerous colored scales same as the flanks. Thighs, upperly and anteriorly covered with light blue scales. Tail dorsally and laterally grayish at the base, but suddenly turns yellow until the tip. There are several green and light blue scales on the lateral sides of the tail.

Jaw region is ventrally melanic with pale spots close to the infralabials. Throat and chest and the medial part of the abdomen are totally melanic. Adyacent to the great ventral melanic region the coloration is light blue, then turning light yellow to the laterals. Cloacae, hind and forelimbs and base of the tail are light blue, then the tail turns yellow on the sides and white on the ventral side; there are also a few black scales and specks irregularly distributed.

Variation (based on twenty four specimens). Figs. 8–9 View FIGURE 8 View FIGURE 9 .

Variation between males and females is shown in Table 2.

Snout-vent length 59.2–77.1 mm (X = 67.0; SD = 6.7). Head length 12.0– 17.2 mm (X = 14.4; SD = 1.6), width 9.8–13.7 mm (X = 11.1; SD = 1.2). Interorbit distance 6.1–8.4 mm (X= 7.2; DS= 0.7). Humerus length 8.2–10.9 (X= 9.3; DS=. 7). Radius length 6.9–9.3 (X= 7.9; DS= 0.8). Auditory meatus height 1.5 –3.0 (X= 2.2; DS= 0.5), width 1.1–2.2 (X= 1.6; DS= 0.4). Axilla-groin distance 25.6–35.3 mm (X = 30.2; SD = 3.3). Femur length 8.2–14.5 (X= 12.4; DS= 1.8). Tibia length 9.1–15.7 (X = 12.7; DS= 1.9). Tail length 77.6–104.2 mm (X = 92.99; SD = 10.8). Midbody scales 58–72 (X = 65.6; SD = 3.6). Dorsal scales, 64–83 (X = 71.6; SD = 5.0) between occiput and anterior surface of thighs. Dorsal head scales 14–19 (X = 16.5; SD = 1.5). Ventrals 96–106 (X = 101.6; SD = 3.1). Scales around interparietal 5–9 (X = 6.7; SD = 1.0). Four to seven (X = 5.8; SD = 0.6) enlarged supraoculars. Nine to twelve (X = 10.6; SD = 1.1), smooth temporals. Auricular, longitudinal and antehumeral fold present. Gulars 30–36 (X = 33.7; SD = 1.7). Supralabials 6–8 (X = 6.6; SD = 0.7). Infralabials 4–7 (X = 5.8; SD = 0.7). Scales around nasals 4–8 (X = 6.2; SD = 0.9). Six to ten scales between rostral and frontal (X = 7.1; SD = 1.1). Four to nine lorilabials (X = 6.6; SD = 1.5). One to four lorilabials in contact with the subocular scale. Precloacal pores 7–10 in males (X= 8.5; SD= 0.8), absent in females.

Evident sexual dichromatism. Head in males with a singular and colorful latero-dorsal pattern; background color is brownish to greyish darker than the body background coloration. There are numerous irregularly distributed white and light blue scales on the top of the head too. A noticeable white straight line goes from the upper eyelids (nearby superciliar scales) to the occipital region. Some individuals possess a group of light blue and yellow scales that may form a larger pale area. A unique combination of specks characterizes this species, these specks are on the supralabials and are disposed irregularly in different pale colors (white, yellow, green, light blue) combined with dark ones (generally black). These arrangements of scales may reach the infralabial scales. In the majority of the specimens, subocular scale is white or yellow with two black edges. Body background brownish, with a reddish nuance, and dorsolateral and flank coloration yellow, brownish or deep reddish. On the vertebral region, a generally discontinuous white line is observed. Paravertebral spots are subsquare in shape, dark brownish or black in adult males. However, in juveniles or smaller males, these spots are not as dark and show some pale scales in the center. Some white, light blue or yellow scales are commonly observed between paravertebral spots. Pre and postcapular spots sharply black colored. Flanks speckled, generally the same color as the paravertebral spots or paler. In some individuals, the lateral specks on the midbody merge forming a band or arc. None of the specimens show black antehumeral arc, vertebral line or dorsolateral bands. The majority of the individuals show a great number of light blue, white or yellow small scales or spots on the dorsolateral region of the trunk. Limb color varies from grey to brownish with dark and pale spots irregularly distributed. Tail coloration is similar to that of the vertebral region, but turns to yellow or light brown distally. The flanks of the tail show noticeable scales colored in light blue, green or yellow. Ventrally, the tail is white yellowish.

Ventrally, males are markedly melanic on the jaw, gular region, chest, belly and cloaca. The throat melanism may expand to the neck. Adult males show light blue scales on the anterior part of the thighs. Probably melanism extends with aging, some juvenile show a pale colored jaw (white, yellow, light blue).

Females show the typical coloration of this sex in the Liolaemus telsen species group. Head is grey or brownish with some darker spots on the top or the sides. Trunk is light brown or pale grey. Scapular spots are present, but paler than in males. Paravertebral specks subsquare, anteriorly pale brownish, then the middle intensely black, forming an arc and, posteriorly there is a small white spot. Like other females of the species belonging to the L. telsen group, L. purul females show pale orange stains in between the paravertebral spots. Lateral spots similar to paravertebral ones; like in males, spots on the midbody tend to expand to the belly. Some females show yellow or reddish scapular spots; it is possible this coloration is related to different reproductive stages. Tail is also typical of females within the L. telsen group; paravertebral spots merge in the center, brownish with black edges and surrounded by brownish-reddish bands. Ventrally, females are spotless white.

Distribution. Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 . This species occurs in central Neuquén Province, Argentina. It was collected from North of Zapala on National Route 40, near crossroad with provincial route 13 (located 40 km E from Primeros Pinos) to 35 km from Collón Curá to the South. It is likely that other populations remain undiscovered between both localities.

Natural History. Liolaemus purul sp. nov was observed while basking over medium-sized rocks. Once they were chased, they escaped to the closest vegetation (usually a bush) and tried to hide by staying motionless or running from shaded to sunny spots. We observed Diplolaemus sexcinctus basking on the same type of rocks; however, the latter species moved quickly beneath the same rock, contrary to what was observed in the new taxon described here. Apparently this species is oviparous and mainly insectivorous, although some vegetable material is ingested. In the National Park Laguna Blanca, this species shares the general steppe habitat with other lizards: Liolaemus cf. elongatus , L. bibronii , L. ceii , Homonota darwinii , Diplolaemus sexinctus and Phymaturus querque .

Etimology. The mapuche word “ purul ” means “alternated black and white colors (as on a chess board)”. This color pattern is present on the supralabials and is a typical feature that distinguishes this species from the rest of the species belonging to the L. melanops group.


Fundacion Miguel Lillo


University of Sierra Leone, Fourah Bay College