Saturday, April 24, 2021

[Herpetology • 2021] Lepidophyma lusca • A New Species of Lepidophyma (Squamata: Xantusiidae) from San Luis Potosí, México, with Notes on Its Physiological Ecology

Lepidophyma lusca 
Arenas-Moreno, Muñoz-Nolasco, Moral, Rodríguez-Miranda, Domínguez-Guerrero & Cruz, 2021

In recent years, there has been an increase in the descriptions of members of the lizard genus Lepidophyma. Herein, we describe a new species of Lepidophyma from the Huasteca Potosina region of Mexico, previously confused with L. gaigeae, from which it differs in lacking parietal spot, among other characteristics. We inferred its phylogenetic position and provide information on its thermal and hydric physiology, as well as on some other aspects of natural history. Molecular and morphological data supported the independent taxonomic status of the new species, indicating its placement as the sister taxon of L. gaigeae and a wide morphological separation between these species. Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. has a diurnal-crepuscular activity period and occurs at lower elevations than L. gaigeae. Also, the new species differ from its sister taxon in its physiology, as reflected by its tendency toward higher thermal parameters and water loss rates. With the description of L. lusca sp. nov., the number of species in the genus Lepidophyma rises to 21.

Keywords: Reptilia, Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov., Huasteca, tropical night lizards, phylogenetic relationships, ecophysiology, diurnality

the holotype of Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. (CNAR IBH 32556). 
Dorsal (A), lateral (B), and ventral (C) views of the head
Bar represents 5 mm.

Holotype (CNAR IBH 32556) of Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. in life.

Lepidophyma lusca, sp. nov.
 Lepidophyma gaigeae Ahumada-Carrillo (2013) 

 Etymology: The specific epithet, “lusca”, is the singular feminine noun in Latin for “one eyed”, due the absence of parietal eye.

Habitat and microhabitat of  Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. at the Tamul waterfall, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
 (A) Semi-evergreen forest at the banks of the Gallinas river;
(B) limestone outcrops where lizards are found.

Distribution records of  Lepidophyma lusca sp. nov. and L. gaigeae.

Diego M. Arenas-Moreno, Francisco J. Muñoz-Nolasco, Adán Bautista-Del Moral, Luis A. Rodríguez-Miranda, Saúl F. Domínguez-Guerrero and Fausto R. Méndez-De La Cruz. 2021. A New Species of Lepidophyma (Squamata: Xantusiidae) from San Luis Potosí, México, with Notes on Its Physiological Ecology. Zootaxa. 4949(1); 115–130. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4949.1.6