Friday, June 22, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Sphenomorphus yersini • A New Skink of the Genus Sphenomorphus Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Scincidae) from Hon Ba Nature Reserve, southern Vietnam

Sphenomorphus yersini 
Nguyen, Nguyen, Nguyen, Orlov & Murphy, 2018

Yersin’s Forest Skink || DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4438.2.6

A new forest skink of the genus Sphenomorphus Fitzinger, 1843 is described from Khanh Hoa Province, southern Vietnam based on morphological characters of four specimens and a fragment of 653 nucleotides of the gene COI. Sphenomorphus yersini sp. nov. is characterized by the following morphological characters: medium size in adults (snout-vent length up to 55 mm); tail length/snout-vent length ratio 1.81; toes reach to fingers when limbs adpressed; midbody scale rows 32–34, smooth; paravertebral scales 61–69; ventral scale rows 58–67; subcaudal scales 112; supraoculars four, rarely five; prefrontals in broad contact with one another; loreal scales two; tympanum deeply sunk; smooth lamellae beneath finger and toe IV 10–12 and 18–20 respectively; a pair of enlarged precloacal scales; hemipenis deeply forked and asymmetrical with two differently sized smooth lobes. The new species differs from its most similar congener, Sphenomorphus buenloicus Darevsky & Nguyen, 1983, by 16.4–16.7% uncorrected p-distance in COI sequences.

Keywords: Reptilia, COI gene, forest skink, Sphenomorphus buenloicus, Sphenomorphus yersini, asymmetrical hemipenis

Sphenomorphus yersini sp. nov.

Etymology. We name this new species in honor of the famous physician and bacteriologist, Alexandre Yersin (1863–1943), who discovered the bacterium responsible for bubonic plague. Hon Ba NR associates with the name of Alexandre Yersin who built a research station on the top of the mountain and worked there. Currently, the research station has been reconstructed and opened to visitors. We recommend Yersin’s Forest Skink as the common name of this new species.

Sang Ngoc Nguyen, Luan Thanh Nguyen, Vu Dang Hoang Nguyen, Nikolai L Orlov and Robert W. Murphy. 2018.  A New Skink of the Genus Sphenomorphus Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Scincidae) from Hon Ba Nature Reserve, southern Vietnam. Zootaxa. 4438(2); 313–326. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4438.2.6

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