Wednesday, September 6, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Resolution of the Types, Diagnostic Features, and Distribution of Two Easily Confused Sand Lizards, Pedioplanis laticeps (Smith, 1845) and P. burchelli (Duméril & Bibron, 1839) (Squamata: Lacertidae)

Pedioplanis laticeps (Smith, 1845)


Within the genus Pedioplanis the two basal species P. laticeps and P. burchelli are phenotypically similar. In this study we examine material of both species to determine diagnostic characters and we revise the distribution of Pedioplanis laticeps. For this we used data from museum collections, literature records, as well as results from our own surveys. Careful examination of the type material of P. laticeps and P. burchelli, as well as additional specimens, confirmed several morphological characters that distinguish between the two species. A reconstruction of the taxonomic history of the species revealed that P. laticeps was described in 1845, and not in 1844 or 1849 as commonly attributed. We designate a holotype for P. burchelli, a lectotype and two paralectotypes for P. laticeps, re-describe the types of P. laticeps and P. burchelli and correct previous misidentifications. Recent literature considers P. laticeps endemic to South Africa. However, 40-year-old museum records contain specimens sampled in Namibia. Surveys in Namibia confirmed at least one extant population of P. laticeps north of the Orange River, close to an area where they were previously collected. Natural history data is very scarce for both species and a comprehensive genetic analysis, covering the entire ranges of both taxa, is urgently needed to shed light on the evolutionary history of the two sister species.

Keywords: Reptilia, Lacerta capensisEremias, Namibia, South Africa

Sebastian Kirchhof, Johannes Penner, Mark-Oliver Rödel and Johannes Müller. 2017. Resolution of the Types, Diagnostic Features, and Distribution of Two Easily Confused Sand Lizards, Pedioplanis laticeps (Smith, 1845) and P. burchelli (Duméril & Bibron, 1839) (Squamata: Lacertidae). Zootaxa.  4318(1); 82–109.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4318.1.3

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