Friday, December 7, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Liolaemus antonietae • The True Identity of the New World Iguanid Lizard Liolaemus chillanensis Müller & Hellmich 1932 (Iguania: Liolaemidae) and Description of A New Species in the Liolaemus elongatus Group

Liolaemus antonietae 
Troncoso-Palacios, Esquerré, Urra, Díaz, Pastene & Ruiz, 2018

Liolaemus is a particularly species-rich radiation of New World iguanid lizards from southern South America. Thanks to intense systematic and taxonomic research, the knowledge on its species-level diversity has increased rapidly over the past several years. The L. elongatus species-complex has received considerable attention and a remarkable case is Liolaemus chillanensis, a name that has been used for two different species that are sympatric in Termas de Chillán, central Chile. Since the holotype is lost, we propose that the first step to identify the true L. chillanensis is through the analysis of the original description. Then we provide a morphological and molecular characterization of L. chillanensis based on topotypes and a description of the taxon previously confused with it.

Key words: Chile, Cytochrome b, Liolaemus monticola, Phylogeny, Principal component analysis.

Fig. 1. Variation in the true Liolaemus chillanensis.
(A-B) Male from Termas de Chillán (SSUC Re 708). (C) Male from near Aguas Calientes (SSUC Re 710). (D) Male from Termas de Chillán (SSUC Re 707). (E-F) Female from Termas de Chillán (SSUC Re 709).

Fig. 8. Liolaemus antonietae sp. nov., all from type locality.
 (A-B) Holotype, male (SSUC Re 697), (C-E) Paratypes males (SSUC Re 698 and 695) and (F-G) Paratype female (SSUC Re 699).

Liolaemus antonietae sp. n. 

2009 Liolaemus monticola chillanensisTorres-Pérez, Méndez, Benavides, Moreno, Lamborot, Palma & Ortiz. Biol. J. Linn. Soc., 96: 635. 
2015 Liolaemus chillanensisEscobar-Huerta, Santibáñez & Ortiz. Gayana, 79: 95. 
2016 Liolaemus sp. Chillán Troncoso-Palacios, Díaz, Puas, Riveros-Riffo & Elorza. Zookeys, 632:127 
2017 Liolaemus chillanensis Medina, Avila, Sites & Morando. J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res., 55: 238.

Diagnosis: Here we provide a diagnosis in regards of all species in the L. elongatus clade plus Liolaemus chillanensis - previously confused with L. antonietae - and L. monticola - which has a similar color pattern. Liolaemus antonietae is a medium size Liolaemus (max. SVL = 77.6 mm), with many midbody scales (86-98; 91.5 ± 3.8), lateral dark band, absence of dorsal melanism or black ventral color. The males have precloacal pores and it is the only member of the L. elongatus clade that can exhibit arboreal behavior.

Distribution and natural history: Known from two localities in the Biobío Region, Chile: Termas de Chillán (type locality, 36°54'S, 71°24'W, 1,766 m, Fig. 9) and Laguna del Huemul, Shangrila (36°52'S, 71°28'W, 1,955 m), 8 km NW from the type locality. Unlike other species of the L. elongatus clade, which are mainly saxicolous (Morando et al. 2003; Avila et al. 2015), L. antonietae is mostly arboreal, which was seen basking on fallen trunks and on trees up approximately 4 m high. Few specimens were observed basking on rocks. Furthermore, we observed a very peculiar gregarious behavior, in which 18 specimens were observed coming out of the surrounding vegetation and entering to the same hollow of a stand tree (Nothofagus sp.) at sunset, in a time frame no longer than an hour. The vegetation in the type locality is dominated by Chusquea sp. and Nothofagus sp. It is an abundant lizard. At the date of capture (January), one female had three embryos and the other had several small oocytes. No remains were found in the stomach, but remnants of insects and plants along with parasitic nematodes were observed inside the intestine. In both localities, L. antonietae was found in syntopy with snake Tachymenis chilensis and lizards L. chillanensis, L. septentrionalis and L. tenuis, being recently recorded also Phymaturus vociferator (Urra et al. 2017).

 Etymology: This species is named after Antonieta Labra Lillo, a prominent Chilean herpetologist who has made significant contributions to the eco-physiology and behavior of lizards, especially to the study of the influence of chemical signals on their behavior. She has also edited the book “Herpetología de Chile”, which had a great impact on the Chilean herpetology. 
We propose the common name “Antonieta’s lizard” in English and “Lagarto de Antonieta” in Spanish. JTP gratefully thanks AL for years of teaching and collaboration.

Jaime Troncoso-Palacios, Damien Esquerré, Félix A. Urra, Hugo A. Díaz, Carlos CastroPastene and María Soledad Ruiz. 2019. The True Identity of the New World Iguanid Lizard Liolaemus chillanensis Müller and Hellmich 1932 (Iguania: Liolaemidae) and Description of A New Species in the Liolaemus elongatus Group.  Zoological Studies. 57: 22.  DOI: 10.6620/ZS.2018.57-22

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