Wednesday, March 14, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Scolecoseps broadleyi • A New Species of Scolecoseps (Reptilia: Scincidae) from coastal north-eastern Mozambique

 Scolecoseps broadleyi
Verburgt, Verburgt & Branch, 2018

Seven specimens of Scolecoseps Loveridge, 1920 from the vicinity of Palma on the north coast of Mozambique are compared morphologically with other known material of this genus. The new material can be distinguished morphologically from all other Scolecoseps by the presence and position of certain head scales, particularly a supraciliary and four small suboculars, a small mental and high subcaudal counts. It is described as a new species, Scolecoseps broadleyi sp. nov. The new species is found in coastal savannah habitat under leaf litter of Berlinia orientalis trees, in sandy soils in close proximity to large wetlands. Its currently known distribution is south of the range of Scolecoseps litipoensis Broadley, 1995 and north of that of Scolecoseps boulengeri Loveridge, 1920. We provide a review of the available literature for the genus Scolecoseps and highlight the necessity for additional research on these poorly known fossorial skinks.

KEYWORDS: arenosols, coastal savannah habitat, fossorial, sandy soils, skinks

Scolecoseps broadleyi sp. nov.; Paratype, PEM R22698, showing head shields

Scolecoseps broadleyi sp. nov. 

Etymology— Named in honour of Donald George Broadley in recognition of his numerous contributions to African herpetology. Don assisted greatly with the description of this new species. 

Figure 3 .Scolecoseps broadleyi sp. nov.
A) Holotype, NMZB 17985 in life and B) ventral view after preservation;
 C) Paratype, PEM R22697 in life and D) Paratype, PEM R22698, showing head shields. 

Luke Verburgt, Ursula K. Verburgt and William R. Branch. 2018. A New Species of Scolecoseps (Reptilia: Scincidae) from coastal north-eastern Mozambique. African Journal of Herpetology. DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2017.1413014

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