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A new species of Plestiodon (Squamata: Scincidae) from the Senkaku Group, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan



A new scincid lizard, Plestiodon takarai sp. nov., is described from the Senkaku Group, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. The Plestiodon lizards in this island group have previously been identified as P. elegans because they all exhibit a patch of enlarged and irregularly arranged scales on the posterior surface of their femurs. However, detailed molecular analyses revealed that the Senkaku population, although closely related to P. elegans and other species in the P. latiscutatus species group, is substantially diverged from all other recognized species. Furthermore, although the Senkaku population largely exhibits the characteristic morphological features of this species group, it can be differentiated from all recognized species by the scutellation and hatchling tail coloration. The biogeographical and conservation implications of these findings are briefly discussed.



Reptilia, DNA sequence variation, morphological variation, Plestiodon elegans, taxonomy

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