Acanthodactylus busacki, Tamar & Geniez & Brito & Crochet, 2017

Tamar, Karin, Geniez, Philippe, Brito, José C. & Crochet, Pierre-André, 2017, Systematic revision of Acanthodactylus busacki (Squamata: Lacertidae) with a description of a new species from Morocco, Zootaxa 4276 (3), pp. 357-386: 367-368

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Acanthodactylus busacki


Acanthodactylus busacki  Salvador, 1982

Acanthodactylus busacki  , Salvador, 1982, A revision of the lizards of the genus Acanthodactylus  (Sauria: Lacertidae  ), Bonner Zoologische Monographien, Nr. 16: 88.


Acanthodactylus busacki  Salvador, 1982: 88 (part.)

Acanthodactylus pardalis bedriagai Arnold, 1983: 319  (part.)

Acanthodactylus bedriagai Harris & Arnold 2000: 352  (part.)

Acanthodactylus busacki Mellado & Dakki 1988: 175  (part.); Mellado & Olmedo 1990: 133 (part.); Bons & Geniez 1996: 162 (part.); Schleich et al. 1996: 391 (part.); Donaire et al. 2000: 10; Geniez et al. 2004: 102 (part.); Brito et al. 2008: 21 (part.); Sindaco & Jeremčenko 2008: 218 (part.); Fonseca et al. 2008: 9 (part.); Geniez et al. 2010: IUCN red list (part.); Harris el al. 2010: 22 (part.); Carretero et al. 2011: 139 (part.); Trape et al. 2012: 302 (part.); Pyron et al. 2013: 17 (part.); Crochet et al. 2015: 584; Tamar et al. 2016: 8 (part.)

Name-bearing type. Natural History Museum (London) BMNH1970.250, adult male, holotype by original designation.

Type locality. 30 km south-west of Goulimine (= Guelmim), Morocco. 

Paratypes. Among the paratypes originally listed by Salvador (1982), MNHN-RA-1938.189 (Asrifa, Morocco), BMNH 1970.249 (same locality as the holotype), and EBD 2440View Materials (Cape Bojador, Rio de Oro) belong to this species. Other paratypes listed in Salvador (1982) are allocated to the new species (see below) or to A. cf. maculatus  (Appendix II). 

Other material. Ten voucher specimens listed in Appendix II under A. busacki  , apart from the holotype and paratypes. Photographic material of one voucher specimen from MB and of 25 individuals photographed in the wild is listed in Appendix II.

Diagnosis. A species of the pardalis  species-group (i.e., small flat or carinated dorsal scales; three series of scales on the fingers; three supraoculars; 12 and sometimes 14 straight longitudinal row of ventrals; slightly pectinate toes; body pattern combining longitudinal rows of light ocelli and black reticulation) characterized by the combination of the following characters: (1) maximum recorded SVL 73 mm (51–73 mm in adult males); (2) three supraoculars, the first supraocular is either entire or fragmented with usually one row of granules between the supraoculars and the superciliaries; (3) 13–27 granules around the supraoculars; (4) subocular with a distinct keel located between the fourth and fifth upper labials and not contacting the lip; (5) upper temporals small and pointed whereas the lower temporals are large and smooth; (6) 8–11 collar scales; (7) 12 longitudinal rows of ventral scales; (8) 29–34 transverse rows of ventral scales; (9) 20–26 femoral pores on each side; (10) three rows of scales on fingers with slight lateral pectination, with 16–23 lamellae underneath the fourth toe; (11) dorsal scales are pointed and smooth; (12) dorsal colour pattern of juveniles, females and sub-adult males consists of two lateral longitudinal lines of pale ocelli on each side with strong black reticulation among them (four longitudinal dorsal lines in total), adult males have intricate colouration of black reticulation that covers most of the dorsal area and the rows of pale ocelli become indistinct or may completely disappear; (13) the males exhibit a unique colouration: the neck, the posterior part of the throat, the anterior parts of the body and belly, and the forelimbs are more or less reddish; this tint becoming progressively yellowish, whitish or slightly bluish at the posterior parts and tail; (14) sub-adults have reddish or white ventral tail colour.

Distribution. Acanthodactylus busacki  is found in the northern Saharan Atlantic coastal desert, from around Guelmim in the north to 67 km north-east of Dakhla ( Crochet et al. 2015) in the south ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1; Appendix II). Its range is bordered to the north by the southern extension of the Anti-Atlas Mountains. According to Donaire et al. (2000) and Geniez et al. (2004) the species reaches the Hammada of Tindouf in the extreme south-east of the Atlantic Sahara, entering Algeria and approaching Mauritania, but these records need to be re-examined: they belong to a taxon of the pardalis  species-group, but not necessarily to A. busacki  ; they might instead involve a desert form of A. cf. maculatus  entering from the northern Sahara into Algeria and Morocco (J.A. Mateo pers. com.; pers. obs.).

Natural history. Acanthodactylus busacki  is a ground-dwelling, diurnal, oviparous, medium-sized lizard, relatively large and stout-bodied. It mostly inhabits habitats with hard substratum, most often clay deposits, more rarely rocky ground, always with scattered bushes. It is widely sympatric with A. aureus  which occurs on sandy substratum (pers. obs.; Geniez et al. 2004). Reddish ventral tail colouration of sub-adults is present in all populations of this species, and not only in the southern populations (contra Crochet et al. 2015).


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Acanthodactylus busacki

Tamar, Karin, Geniez, Philippe, Brito, José C. & Crochet, Pierre-André 2017

Acanthodactylus bedriagai

Harris 2000: 352

Acanthodactylus busacki

Tamar 2016: 8
Crochet 2015: 584
Pyron 2013: 17
Trape 2012: 302
Carretero 2011: 139
Sindaco 2008: 218
Fonseca 2008: 9
Geniez 2004: 102
Donaire 2000: 10
Bons 1996: 162
Schleich 1996: 391
Mellado 1990: 133
Mellado 1988: 175

Acanthodactylus pardalis bedriagai

Arnold 1983: 319

Acanthodactylus busacki

Salvador 1982: 88