Monday, January 15, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Lygosoma samajayaUnrealized Diversity in An Urban Rainforest: A New Species of Lygosoma (Squamata: Scincidae) from western Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo)

 Lygosoma samajaya
Karin, Freitas, Shonleben, Grismer, Bauer & Das, 2018


We collected two specimens of an undescribed species of Lygosoma from pitfall traps in an urban rainforest in Kuching and from the base of a forested hill in western Sarawak, East Malaysia. The new species is diagnosable from all south-east Asian congeners by morphological characters, and most closely resembles Lygosoma herberti from the Thai-Malay Peninsula. The new species shows substantial molecular divergence from its closest relatives in two protein-coding genes, one mitochondrial (ND1) and one nuclear (R35) that we sequenced for several south-east Asian congeners. We describe the new species on the basis of this distinct morphology and genetic divergence. It is the third species of Lygosoma known from Borneo, and highlights the continuing rise in lizard species diversity on the island. In addition, the discovery of this species from a small urban rainforest underscores the importance of preserving intact rainforest areas of any size in maintaining species diversity.

Keywords: Reptilia, Borneo; Sarawak; Scincidae; Lygosoma samajaya new species

FIGURE 3. Photo in life of the holotype of Lygosoma samajaya sp. nov.

Lygosoma samajaya sp. nov.

Etymology. The species epithet samajaya is a proper noun in apposition that refers to the locality of collection of the holotype at the Sama Jaya Forest Reserve in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. This name draws attention to the importance of small urban rainforest parks in sustaining species diversity.

Benjamin R. Karin, Elyse S. Freitas, Samuel Shonleben, L. Lee Grismer, Aaron M. Bauer and Indraneil Das. 2018.  Unrealized Diversity in An Urban Rainforest: A New Species of Lygosoma (Squamata: Scincidae) from western Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo). Zootaxa. 4370(4); 345–362.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4370.4.2

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