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A new species of Cnemidophorus (Squamata, Teiidae) from the South American Chaco

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Comprising one million square kilometres, the Chaco biome is one of the largest open formations of South America, and part of a biogeographic diagonal in loose continuity with the Cerrado to the north, and the Patagonian Monte to the south. Until recently only one species of Cnemidophorus was recognized in the ocellifer group (C. ocellifer), but in the last decade several new species have been described to Caatingas and Cerrado. In this paper a new species of Cnemidophorus, previously regarded as the southernmost population of C. ocellifer, is described. Analyses of external morphology revealed that a number of traits known to be taxonomically informative differ from other species of the genus. The new species is bisexual, and distinguished from all other taxa of Cnemidophorus by the following character states: 75–98 granular dorsal scales across midbody; 184–212 dorsal scales along vertebral line; 15–19 femoral pores in total; 25–31 lamellae under the fourth toe; two rows of enlarged prebrachial plates; two rows of scales along the inferoposterior half of the calf of males bearing erected thorn-like borders; 23–26 scales around the tail on the fifth complete postcloacal ring; 5 superciliaries; frontonasal scale subrhombical, wider than long; striped pattern on body and tail with unfading of white stripes in adults, and vertebral stripe absent. The range of the new species in Paraguay and Argentina strongly suggests it is endemic to the Chaco biome. Its presence in the Bolivian Chaco is expected.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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