Friday, January 10, 2014

[Herpetology • 2013] Ctenophorus mirrityana | Barrier Range Dragon • Taxonomic Assessment of the Ctenophorus decresii complex (Reptilia: Agamidae) reveals A New Species of Dragon Lizard from western New South Wales


 male Barrier Range Dragon Ctenophorus mirrityana sp. nov.
from Silverton Wind Farm site, 35 km north west of Broken Hill, NSW
(photo S. Sass)

Abstract
 We describe a new species of agamid lizard, Ctenophorus mirrityana sp.nov. currently known from two disjunct populations in western New South Wales. The species is a member of the C. decresii species complex, and was formerly recognized as an outlying population of C. decresii due to similarities in dorsal colour pattern and adjacent distributions. Previous work documented deep molecular divergence, across multiple loci, with no genetic admixture between the new species and proximal C. decresii populations. We find that the new species differs in morphology from all other members of the species complex and is characterized by distinct male throat and lateral coloration, a small head size relative to snout-vent length, a large number of labial scales, and a lack of tubercular scales. We also identify two geographically structured lineages (northern and southern) within C. decresii as requiring further taxonomic investigation, based on notable genetic and morphological (including colour) divergence. We find that divergence in coloration is associated with genetic and body form differentiation within the C. decresii species complex.

Keywords: Agamidae; Barrier Range; colour variation; Ctenophorus mirrityana; reptilian morphology

Barrier Range Dragon Ctenophorus mirrityana

Etymology. The specific epithet mirrityana is a word meaning “out in the sunlight” in the local Aboriginal language (Paakantyi; Hercus, 1993), in reference to the conspicuousness of the species during hot weather. There are several rock engravings depicting lizards at Mutawintji National Park (McCarthy & Macintosh, 1962), some of which may represent this species given it’s prominence in the area. We propose Barrier Range Dragon as the species’ common name.


McLean, Claire A., Adnan Moussalli, Steve Sass, and Devi Stuart-Fox. 2013. Taxonomic Assessment of the Ctenophorus decresii complex (Reptilia: Agamidae) reveals A New Species of Dragon Lizard from western New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum. 65(3): 51–63. 

New species of lizard found with help of locals

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