Friday, September 15, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Rediscovery and Redescription of Tropidophorus micropus van Lidth de Jeude, 1905 (Squamata: Scincidae) from Sarawak, East Malaysia (Borneo)

Tropidophorus micropus van Lidth de Jeude, 1905

Tropidophorus micropus van Lidth de Jeude, 1905, described from the upper Mahakkam River, Kalimantan, Indonesia, is here redescribed, based on new material from upper Baleh, Sarawak, East Malaysia (Borneo), collected after over 100 years. The new locality is ca. 94 km to the north of the type locality, and comprises a new national record.

Keywords: Tropidophorus micropus;  rediscovery;  Scincidae;  Malaysia;  Borneo

Tropidophorus micropus van Lidth de Jeude, 1905 was described from a unique specimen (RMNH 4452, presumed to be an adult male, based on swollen tail base), collected from “Long Bloe Upper Mahakkam” (= Long Blu, also spelt Long Bloéoe, 00.71667°N; 114.2500°E; on the upper reaches of Sungei Mahakam, Kalimantan Timur Propinsi, Indonesia, on the island of Borneo). No images were provided in the original description, and the holotype is illustrated here (Figure 1). Subsequent authors (e.g., de Rooij, 1915) referred to the species, but apparently no further specimens have been collected. The recent records of the species by Stuebing et al. (1999) and Das (2004) are based on misidentified specimens. 

In May 2015, two specimens of Tropidophorus were collected during an expedition to the headwaters of Sungei Baleh, central Sarawak, that we allocate to this nominal species. This constitutes the rediscovery of the poorly known species, as well as the first confirmed record for Sarawak and Malaysia. 

We provide an expanded description of these specimens, including, for the first time, a description of its colouration as well as images.


Figure 2: Tropidophorus micropus van Lidth de Jeude, 1905 (UNIMAS P1168) in life.

Ecological Notes and Distribution: The series was collected from narrow crevices of rocky banks of small streams at the headwaters of Sungei Baleh (Figure 4). Both females contained two yellowish-cream colored ova, and visible externally in life. The new locality provides the first record for both Sarawak and Malaysia, and lies ca. 94 km to the north of the type locality, across Pengunungan Mueller (= Müller Range) that forms the boundary between Sarawak (Malaysia) in the north and Kalimantan (Indonesia) to the south.

Yong Min PUI and Indraneil DAS. 2017. Rediscovery and Redescription of Tropidophorus micropus van Lidth de Jeude, 1905 (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae) from Sarawak, East Malaysia (Borneo).  Asian Herpetological Research. 8(2); 147-150. DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.160015

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