Tuesday, May 15, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Austroablepharus gen. nov. • A New Genus to Accommodate Three Skinks Currently Assigned to Proablepharus (Lacertilia: Scincidae)


Austroablepharus kinghorni  (Copland, 1947)
Proablepharus reginae (Glauert, 1960)

in Couper, Hoskin, Potter, et al., 2018. 
Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature. 60 

ABSTRACT
The genus Proablepharus currently contains five species (P. barrylyoni, P. kinghorni, P. naranjicaudus, P. reginae and P. tenuis). Morphologically, these are readily separated into two groups: the small, almost patternless species (P. reginae and P. tenuis) and the larger, striped species (P. kinghorni, P. barrylyoni and P. naranjicaudus). We present genetic and morphological data to demonstrate that these two groups are generically distinct from each other. As P. reginae is the type species for Proablepharus, we erect a new genusAustroablepharus gen. nov., for the kinghorni group and designate A. kinghorni as the type species. 

Keywords:  ProablepharusAustroablepharus gen. nov., Australia, morphology, genetics. 

 FIG. 2. Austroablepharus kinghorni, type species for the genus, with characteristic stripes and an orange tail; Durham Downs, Queensland (Image: Steve Wilson).

 FIG. 2. Austroablepharus kinghorni, type species for the genus, with characteristic stripes and an orange tail; Durham Downs, Queensland
FIG. 1. Proablepharus reginae showing a drab brown, relatively uniform pattern; Tennant Creek, Northern Territory

(Images: Steve Wilson).

Proablepharus Fuhn, 1969

Proablepharus reginae (Glauert, 1960)
Proablepharus tenuis (Broom, 1896)


Austroablepharus gen. nov.
 Suggested common name. Grassland Striped Skinks. 

Type species. Austroablepharus kinghorni (Copeland, 1947) 
Species. A. kinghorni (Copland 1947), A. naranjicaudus (Greer, Fisher & Horner 2004), A. barrylyoni (Couper, Limpus, McDonald & Amey 2010). 

Etymology. Austro for Australia and ablepharus referring to an immovable lower eyelid that is partially fused to the upper eyelid to form a permanent spectacle.

 Diagnosis. A genus of small skinks (adult SVL ≤ 51mm ) with pentadactyl limbs, ≤ 24 midbody scale rows, ≥ 55 paravertebral scales, and ≥ 30 presacral vertebrae. Limbs narrowly to widely separated when adpressed. Supranasals absent and nasals undivided; prefrontals large, in contact or narrowly separated; eye moderate-sized with lower eyelid immovable, partially fused to upper eyelid to form a permanent spectacle but with a distinct slit between the lower eyelid and the supraciliaries (preablepharine); frontoparietals fused; interparietal free or fused; ear opening very small; parietals in contact; body pattern consisting of alternating pale and dark stripes (each dorsal body scale with a pale centre and dark lateral edges); adult tail colouration red/orange.


Patrick J. Couper, Conrad J. Hoskin, Sally Potter, Jason G. Braggand Craig Moritz. 2018. A New Genus to Accommodate Three Skinks Currently Assigned to Proablepharus (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature. 60; 227-231. 
DOI: 10.1082/j.2204-1478.60.2017.2017-15

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