Carlia pectoralis ( de Vis 1884 )

Hoskin, Conrad J. & Couper, Patrick J., 2012, Description of two new Carlia species (Reptilia: Scincidae) from north-east Australia, elevation of Carlia pectoralis inconnexa Ingram & Covacevich 1989 to full species status, and redescription of Carlia pectoralis (de Vis 1884), Zootaxa 3546, pp. 1-28: 14-17

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scientific name

Carlia pectoralis ( de Vis 1884 )
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Carlia pectoralis ( de Vis 1884)  

Open-litter Rainbow Skink

( Figs 1E & F, 2C, 3C, 4C, 5C, 6C, 7C, 8C, 9C, 10E)

1884 Heteropus pectoralis de Vis. Brisbane Courier   , November 15, p. 6. (Queensland). Holotype QM J1414.  

1885 Heteropus lateralis de Vis. Proc Roy. Soc. Qd   1: 168. Pine River, Moreton Bay District, SE Queensland. Lectotype QM J234 designated by Ingram and Covacevich 1989. Name rejected by Boulenger as a secondary homonym of Lygosoma lateralis Duméril and Bibron. See   Remarks section below.

1885 Heteropus pectoralis de Vis. Proc. Roy. Soc. Qd   1: 169. Warro, Port Curtis , south-east Queensland. Holotype QM J1414.  

1890 Lygosoma devisii Boulenger. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. P.   79. Replacement name for Heteropus lateralis de Vis. See   Remarks section below.

1989 Carlia pectoralis pectoralis Ingram & Covacevich. Memoirs   of the Queensland Museum 27(2): 465. Holotype QM J1414.  

Material examined. QM J1414 (holotype) male, Warro , Port Curtis , south of Miriam Vale (24°35'S, 151°45'E); J77644 View Materials Kunwarara Mine Site (22°55'S, 150°08'E); J73543 View Materials Awoonga Dam, from Boyne Valley to Miriam Vale (24°02'S, 151°19' 05"E); J42200 View Materials Worthington Ck, S of Turkey, via Miriam Vale (24°09'S, 151°42'E); J41536 View Materials Pine Ck Timber Reserve (102), S of Turkey Stn (24°10'S, 151°42'E); J40174 View Materials Eurimbulah NP, NE of Miriam Vale (24°13'S, 151°44'E); J42201 View Materials Eurimbulah NP, N of, via Miriam Vale (24°13'S, 151°42'E); J82445 View Materials Callide Mine, nr Biloela (24°17' 57"S, 150°36' 33"E); J76857 View Materials SF29, 5kms NW of Conomara Homestead (24°18'08"S, 149°07'37"E); J40169 View Materials -70 Bindaree Stn, 10km ENE Miriam Vale (24°18'S, 151°39'E); J76857 View Materials SF29, 5kms NW of Conomara Homestead (24°18' 08"S, 149°07' 37"E); J42170 View Materials -71 Kroombit Tops (24°22'S, 150°59'E); J42412 View Materials Kroombit Tops, via Calliope, Dry Ck Escarpment (24°22'S, 151°01'E); J40313 View Materials Deepwater, N of Miriam Vale, CSR Macadamia Farm (24°26'S, 151°59'E); J75823 View Materials Brigalow Res. Stn, Site 5 (24°48'S, 149°45'E); J83399 View Materials Brigalow Research Station (24°48' 01"S, 149°46' 13"E); J59575 View Materials Carnarvon NP, Ka Ka Mundi section (24°48' 36"S, 147°35' 34"E); J75636 View Materials Brigalow Res. Stn, Site 2 (24°49'S, 149°45'E); J83396 View Materials Carnarvon Station , 140km NW of Injune, Springs Road 24°49' 14"S, 147°44' 28"E); QMJ90888 View Materials -89 Carnarvon Gorge (25°03'33"S, 148°14'04"E); J83126 View Materials Theodore, 38.8km SSW (25°15' 18"S, 149°53' 24"E); J63390 View Materials Wongi SF, N Section (25°21' 12"S, 152°25' 42"E); J72271 View Materials Boggomoss, via Taroom, Boggomoss 3 (25°26' 04"S, 150°01' 22"E); J90462 View Materials Lonesome Lookout, Lonesome NP (25°29'44"S, 148°48'43"E); J73316 View Materials Taroom District (25°33'S, 150°08'E); J73383, J73719 Wetheron, 3kms SW (25°34'S, 151°42'E); J73466 View Materials Wetheron, 3.5kms SW (25°34'S, 151°41'E); J73701 View Materials Mt Debatable , 1.5kms NE (25°37'S, 151°34'E); J77723 View Materials Stones Country Resources Reserve (26°23' 28"S, 149°52' 45"E); J76491 View Materials Yellow Gully, Gatton-Esk Rd (27°47'S, 152°21'E); J73349 View Materials Nipping Gully, Site 4 (25°40'S, 151°26'E); J73381 View Materials Nipping Gully, Site 5 (25°42'S, 151°26'E); J73472 View Materials Nipping Gully (25°42'S, 151°26'E); J41525 View Materials Mt Urah , 20km W Gundiah, nr Gympie (25°50'S, 152°21'E); J89392 View Materials Greenup SF (28°37'57"S, 151°14'31"E); QMJ234 (lectotype Heteropus lateralis   ) Pine River, Moreton Bay district, SE Queensland GoogleMaps   .

Diagnosis. A moderate sized Carlia   (max SVL 47 mm) that can be distinguished from all congeners by a combined suite of characters. Interparietal scale free. Dorsal scales tricarinate and hexagonally-shaped. Palpebral disc large. Ear aperture usually round (may be vertically elongate) with a rounded lobule on the anterior margin and usually with sharp to bluntly pointed lobules on other margins ( Fig. 8C). Supraciliaries usually five. Prefrontals usually narrowly separated or in point contact ( Fig. 9C). Upper preocular minute or a narrow, vertical sliver ( Fig. 10E). Breeding male with distinct orange upper lateral stripe and usually also an orange lower lateral stripe, with orange extending onto the chest; blue throat; throat, neck and chin scales strongly edged in black ( Figs 1E, 2C, 4C, 5C). Female with white mid-lateral stripe that usually becomes ragged and indistinct or breaks up to flecks posteriorly along the flank ( Fig. 1F, 6C). Both sexes have a pale greyish tinge on the ventral surface.

Etymology. The species name pectoralis   translates as ‘breasted'.

Description of holotype ( Fig. 7C). QMJ1414, male. Measurements (mm): SVL 44.3; interlimb 19.2; HLL 21.3; TL 6.1; HW 7.7; HL 10.2. Dorsal scale keels 3; midbody scale rows 32; paravertebrals 44; supralabials 7; infralabials 6; supraciliaries 5, subdigital lamellae (4 th toe) 25; subdigital lamellae (3 rd finger) 21. Upper preocular reduced to a narrow vertical sliver, well separated from posterior edge of 2 nd loreal scale; palpebral disc large; ear <palpebral disc, round with lobules on all margins; postsupralabial divided; nasals widely spaced; prefrontals narrowly separated.

Colour pattern of holotype in preservative. Even dark brown colouration over dorsal and lateral surfaces. Sides of neck and throat dark brown to black. Chin and underside of throat pale brown, heavily marked or smudged with dark brown, particularly at scale edges. Ventral surfaces creamy yellow. Dorsal surfaces of limbs light brown; undersides creamy yellow.

Description of material examined. Body robust with keeled dorsal scales. Head barely distinct from neck. Snout rounded in profile. Limbs moderate; four fingers; five toes. Adult measurements and proportions: see Table 1. Scalation: Rostral in broad contact with frontonasal. Postsupralabial divided. Nasals widely spaced. Prefrontals large, usually narrowly separated (narrow separation 79%, point contact 13%, moderate separation 8%) ( Fig. 9C). Supraoculars 4, 1 and 2 in contact with frontal, 2, 3 and 4 in contact with frontoparietal. Frontoparietals fused, forming a single shield. Interparietal distinct. Enlarged nuchal scales 2. Loreals 2. Preoculars 2. Upper preocular very small, typically a narrow vertical sliver (79%) or sometimes a minute granule (18%) ( Fig. 10E); very rarely larger and in contact with posterior edge of 2 nd loreal (3%). Presubocular single. Supraciliaries typically 5 (96%), but occasionally 6 (2%) or 7 (2%). Lower eyelid movable with clear window; palpebral disc large, occupying more than half of lower eyelid. Ear aperture smaller than palpebral disc. Ear opening round (or tending towards vertically elliptic) and usually with lobules on all margins; lobules may be rounded or pointed, or a mix of both ( Fig. 8C). Supralabials 7, with the fifth below the eye. Infralabials 6. Three scales between the nasal scale and the presubocular. Midbody scale rows 28–32 (mean = 31), with tricarinate keels on dorsal scales. Paravertebral scale rows 45–50 (mean = 47). Forelimb tetradactyl, with 18–21 (mean = 19) lamellae beneath 3 rd finger. Hindlimb pentadactyl, with 23–28 (mean = 25) lamellae beneath 4 th toe.

Colour pattern in preservative. Males ( Figs 3C, 4C, 5C): dorsal surfaces brown with black and white dots and flecks, usually increasing in intensity posteriorly. Iridescent sheen to scales of some individuals. Top of head generally lighter brown; often with fine black dots. Flanks brown with a faint to distinct orange upper lateral line and sometimes also some indication of an orange lower lateral line. Throat blue or pale; scales heavily edged with black to give a scalloped look. Scales of jawline and sides of neck also heavily edged with black. Ventral surfaces cream, grey tinged, creamy brown or yellowish. Dorsal surfaces of limbs brown; undersides pale. Prominent white spot at posterior base of hindleg. Tail brown with black and white spots and flecks. Females ( Fig. 6C): dorsal surfaces brown with black and white dots and flecks. Top of head generally lighter brown; often with fine black dots. Thin, white line from snout or beneath eye to tympanum and then continuous with mid-lateral line. Thin, white mid-lateral line generally extends past forelimb and along the anterior third or half of the flank before becoming indistinct and ragged or breaking up into white flecks. Flanks otherwise brown and speckled with white; upper flanks generally darker brown. Ventral surfaces grey, white or cream. Dorsal surfaces of limbs brown; undersides pale. White spot at posterior base of hindleg. Tail brown with black and white spots and flecks.

Colour pattern in life ( Figs 1E, 1F, 2C). Dorsum of both sexes brown with a paravertebral row of widely spaced black and white dots, generally becoming more distinct posteriorly. Ventral surfaces with a pale grey wash. Breeding males have blue throats; scales of throat neck and chin heavily edged in black. An orange upper lateral stripe encompasses two scale rows and extends from just in front of the forelimb to groin. At maximum breeding extent a lower lateral orange stripe is also present, with the orange extending as a flush over the chest and underside of the forelimbs. Adult females have a white mid-lateral stripe, with diffuse dark edges, extending from nostril to anterior or mid flank, before breaking up into a series of flecks.

Comparison. Only likely to be confused with C. decora   sp. nov., C. rubigo   sp. nov. and C. inconnexa   . Carlia pectoralis   is readily distinguished from C. inconnexa   by tricarinate versus bicarinate dorsal scales, smaller size, lower midbody, paravertebral and lamellae scale counts, and colour pattern (see C. inconnexa Comparison   section; Table 1). Most easily distinguished from C. rubigo   sp. nov. by breeding male colouration ( Figs 1–5). Male C. pectoralis   have an upper lateral orange band and generally also a lower lateral orange band that is continuous with orange flushing on the chest and underside of the forelimbs. In contrast, the flanks of male C. rubigo   sp. nov. are broadly flushed with copper or orange rather than it being restricted to upper and lower lateral bands. Additionally, breeding male C. pectoralis   have heavy black edging (scalloping) to the scales of the throat, whereas the throat of male C. rubigo   sp. nov. is clean or flecked with grey or black markings. Carlia pectoralis   is further distinguished from C. rubigo   sp. nov. by having a round ear opening (vs. usually vertically elliptical), with prominent rounded or bluntly pointed lobules on all margins (vs. one low, rounded anterior lobule and sometimes also low lobules on other margins) ( Fig. 8). Carlia pectoralis   also tends to have fewer subdigital lamellae under the 4 th toe (means: 25 vs. 27; 75% of C. pectoralis   specimens examined had 26 or fewer, 75% of C. rubigo   sp. nov. had 26 or more) and tends to be a slightly larger skink with a proportionally larger head (> HL/SVL and> HW/SVL) than C. rubigo   sp. nov. ( Table 1). Breeding male C. pectoralis   and C. decora   sp. nov. both have upper and lower orange lateral stripes. However, in C. pectoralis   the lower lateral stripe becomes more pronounced at maximum breeding extent and the chest and underside of the forelimbs become flushed with orange. More importantly, the throat of breeding male C. pectoralis   is heavily scalloped with black whereas the throat of male C. decora   sp. nov. is usually clean or speckled with grey or black (at most the scales are finely dark-edged) ( Figs 1, 2, 4, 5). The white mid-lateral line on female C. pectoralis   rarely extends as a clean line onto the posterior flank (usually becomes ragged-edged or breaks up into white flecks) whereas in female C. decora   sp. nov. a neat white line always extends to the groin ( Figs 1, 6). Carlia pectoralis   is further distinguished from C. decora   sp. nov. in that the upper preocular is minute or a narrow vertical wedge (vs. broadly triangular) ( Fig. 10), prefrontal spacing is generally narrow or very narrow (vs. moderate) ( Fig. 9), the ear opening is round (vs. vertically elliptical), and there are usually lobules present on all margins of the ear (vs. one large, rounded lobule on the anterior edge) ( Fig. 8). Carlia pectoralis   also tends to have more midbody scale rows than C. decora   sp. nov. (generally 30 or more vs. 30 or less), fewer subdigital lamellae under the 4 th toe (75% of C. pectoralis   specimens had 26 or fewer vs. 26 or more for 75% of C. decora   sp. nov.), a shorter relative interlimb length (interlimb/SVL of 0.48 separates most specimens) and a proportionally larger head (> HW/SVL and> HL/ SVL) ( Table 1).

Genetics. Carlia pectoralis   is approximately 10% divergent (ND4 mtDNA) from C. rubigo   sp. nov. and C. inconnexa   and approximately 16% divergent from Carlia decora   sp. nov. (C. Hoskin, unpublished data). A representative ND4 mtDNA sequence for this species from near the type locality is JX291975 View Materials (GenBank accession number).

Distribution. Carlia pectoralis   is restricted to south-east Queensland ( Fig. 11), from Brisbane in the far southeast, west to the Great Dividing Range, north-west to Carnarvon Gorge and north to at least Blackdown Tableland and Shoalwater Bay.

Habitat and habits. Carlia pectoralis   is found in dry open forests, particularly in areas with grass tussocks, leaf litter and other ground cover ( Fig. 12C). It is an active ground-dwelling skink.

Remarks. The holotype of Carlia pectoralis (QMJ1414)   comes from Warro Station, Port Curtis, which is south-east of Miriam Vale (for clarification of type locality see Covacevich (1971), Pp. 56–58). The type specimen fits the characters outlined herein for C. pectoralis   sensu stricto and the type locality falls within the range of that species. The name Heteropus lateralis de Vis 1885   , a synonym of C. pectoralis   , requires assessment in light of the species descriptions herein.

Description of lectotype of Heteropus lateralis de Vis 1884   ( Fig. 13). QMJ234, male. Measurements (mm): SVL 44.4; interlimb 21.4; TL 7.2; HW 7.7; HL 10.3. Scalation: dorsal scale keels 3; midbody scale rows 28; paravertebrals 47; supralabials 7; infralabials 6; supraciliaries 5, subdigital lamellae (4 th toe) 25; subdigital lamellae (3 rd finger) 18. Upper preocular in contact with posterior edge of 2 nd loreal scale; palpebral disc large; ear aperture <palpebral disc; ear opening vertically elliptic with a single rounded lobule on anterior margin; postsupralabial divided; nasals widely spaced; prefrontals widely separated.

Colour pattern in preservative. Even mid brown colouration over dorsal and lateral surfaces. Ventral surfaces paler. The specimen is old and original colour pattern has been lost.

Comments on Heteropus lateralis de Vis 1884   . There has been considerable confusion regarding H. lateralis   due to the lack of a clearly designated holotype or syntypes and due to discrepancies in the original description. Ingram and Covacevich (1989) note that de Vis'1885 description of H. lateralis   is more consistent with C. vivax   than with C. p. pectoralis   in that it has bicarinate dorsal scales (vs tricarinate in C. p. pectoralis   and a single copperred stripe on the flanks (vs two stripes in C.p. pectoralis   ). Despite such discrepancies, these authors designated QMJ234, a tricarinate specimen which was probably the last remaining syntype of Heteropus lateralis   , as the lectotype of this taxon. Their action relegates H. lateralis   to the synonymy of C. p. pectoralis (de Vis)   and supports Mitchell's (1953) earlier assessment that this specimen was conspecific with C. pectoralis   (as Leiopisma pectoralis   ). Ingram and Covacevich (1989) note that QMJ234 ‘…is a typical C. p. pectoralis   in all respects’ and, indeed, the specimen does conform to their concept of C. p. pectoralis   sensu lato. However, with the recognition of the new taxa described herein, QMJ234 does not readily conform to our concept of C. pectoralis   sensu stricto. The specimen exhibits a large upper preocular that contacts the posterior edge of the 2 nd loreal scale (a character more consistent with C. vivax   and C. decora   sp. nov.). While such a state is atypical for C. pectoralis   sensu stricto, one specimen in the C. pectoralis   series we examined did have an upper preocular in contact with the 2 nd loreal. QMJ234 also has a vertically elliptic ear aperture with a single rounded lobule on the anterior margin (again, characters that are more consistent with C. vivax   and C. decora   sp. nov.). Once again, while these states are atypical for C. pectoralis   sensu stricto, individuals with vertically eliptical ear openings with just a rounded anterior lobule do occur (e.g. Fig. 1E). Other traits of QMJ234 (and the collection locality: Pine River, Moreton Bay District, south-east Queensland) conform to our description of C. pectoralis   sensu stricto but the unusual state of two key traits make identification of this specimen problematic. It is unlikely to be C. decora   sp. nov. because this species is not known to occur in south-east Queensland and because other traits on QMJ234 do not readily conform to C. decora   sp. nov.. It is also not likely to be C. vivax   because, to the best of our knowledge, C. vivax   always has bicarinate dorsal scales. The most parsimonious explanation is that QMJ234 is a specimen of C. pectoralis   with atypical morphology. Therefore, Heteropus lateralis   remains a synonym of C. pectoralis   .

QM

Queensland Museum

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Family

Scincidae

Genus

Carlia