Sunday, August 13, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Rediscovery of Mesaspis antauges (Squamata: Anguidae): Solving A 50-year Mystery

Mesaspis antauges (Cope 1866)

Solano-Zavaleta, Cerón de la Luz & Clause, 2017


Vertebrate rediscoveries occur frequently, but must be properly documented for scientific credibility. Ongoing rediscoveries suggest a need for greater caution in declaring species extinct. Here, we report a rediscovery of the mysterious Mexican anguid lizard Mesaspis antauges (Cope 1866), a species last recorded by scientists in 1964. Our comparison of newly-collected material against previous specimens, all of which apparently originate from a single isolated volcanic peak, confirms the taxonomic validity of this species and the relegation of the binomen M. modestus (Cope 1878) to the status of a junior synonym. We include a brief discussion of the natural history of M. antauges, and explore the conservation implications of our rediscovery.

Keywords: Reptilia, Squamata, Anguidae

Israel Solano-Zavaleta, Nelson Martín Cerón de la Luz and Adam G. Clause. 2017. Solving A 50-year Mystery: Rediscovery of Mesaspis antauges (Squamata: Anguidae).
 Zootaxa. 4303(4); 559–572.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4303.4.7