Australolacerta Arnold 1989

Edwards, Shelley, Branch, William R., Vanhooydonck, Bieke, Herrel, Anthony, Measey, G. John & Tolley, Krystal A., 2013, Taxonomic adjustments in the systematics of the southern African lacertid lizards (Sauria: Lacertidae), Zootaxa 3669 (2), pp. 101-114 : 109

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Australolacerta Arnold 1989


Australolacerta Arnold 1989

Type species. Lacerta australis Hewitt 1926

Content. Australolacerta australis (Hewitt 1926)

Characterization and diagnosis. With the transfer of Lacerta rupicola to Vhembelacerta , a re-diagnosis of Australolacerta is required. The monophyly of the monotypic genus Australolacerta is established on the basis of a suite of nuclear and mitochondrial markers (Edwards et al. 2012). Morphologically closest to Vhembelacerta , it can be distinguished from all other lacertids by the following combination of characteristics (FitzSimons 1943; Branch 1998): head moderately depressed, body feebly so; SVL 50–65mm, maximum 70mm; adpressed hindlimb reaches collar; tail cylindrical; head shields normal with upper head shields smooth, occipital region flat; snout pointed, shorter than postocular part of head; nostril pierced between the nasal and one or two postnasals, and 1 st upper labial, with nasals in contact with one another behind rostral; frontoparietals paired in contact; parietals in contact with the 4 th of four supraoculars and separated from the postoculars; parietal foramen absent; interparietal about twice as long as broad, in good contact with occipital; a series of 9 granules between supraoculars and supraciliaries; 4 upper labials anterior to subocular, which has a strongly-marked keel along upper border and a lower border that is much shorter than upper; elongate temporal shield posterior to the subocular, followed by 3 smaller rounded ones; temporal scales small and granular, similar to dorsal scales; ear-opening large, exposed, bordered anteriorly by an elongate tympanic shield and with no auricular denticulation; lower eyelid scaly, lacking vertically-enlarged scales in the middle; 6 lower labials and five pairs of enlarged chin-shields, 1 st smallest, 4 th largest, and 1 st three pairs in median contact with one another; gular fold present, but not strongly marked; collar composed of 8 plates, straight, free, and even-edged; dorsal scales small, granular, smooth, similar to laterals and about 68 across midbody; ventral plates quadrangular, feebly imbricate, in 6 longitudinal and 28 transverse series; preanal plate enlarged, preceded by two smaller scales; Forelimb with small granular scales on upper surface of forearm and a series of strongly enlarged, smooth and imbricate plates along anterior surface of humerus; hindlimb with granular scales on upper surface of tibia; a series of much enlarged and vertically elongate plates run along anterior surface of thigh and on the lower surface of tibia;. 16–19 femoral pores; sub-digital lamellae smooth; scales on tail enlarged, quadrangular, elongate; more or less smooth dorsally, becoming keeled distally, and below scales smooth basally, more strongly keeled and bluntly mucronate distally.

Coloration: head and dorsum dark brown to olive, with numerous pale spots arranged in more or less regular longitudinal series that are yellow on back, white on flanks, and separated by a dorsolateral series of orange spots; upper surface head with pale green to yellow vermiculations; distinct pale vertical stripes on temporal region; indistinct pale spots on tail; venter bluish green; labials, chin-shields and throat pale greenish, with small black spots and mottling.

Distribution. Found in the southwestern Cape Fold Mountains in Western Cape Province, South Africa (Branch 1998).