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A morphological and molecular study of Psilops, a replacement name for the Brazilian microteiid lizard genus Psilophthalmus Rodrigues 1991 (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae), with the description of two new species



The lizard genus Psilophthalmus was originally described from the sandy deposits at the northern end of Serra do Espinhaço, in Santo Inácio, state of Bahia, but since then it has been recorded in other Brazilian localities of the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, and Sergipe. Here, we review the collected specimens based on molecular markers (mitochondrial 12S, 16S, ND4 and cyt b, and nuclear C-mos and NT3) and morphological evidence (external, hemipenial and osteological morphologies). In the course of our revision we find out that Psilophthalmus Rodrigues 1991 was preoccupied by Psilophthalmus Szépligeti 1902 (Hymenoptera, Braconidae). The replacement name Psilops is proposed for the genus for which we recognize three species, with Psilops paeminosus as type species. One of the new species is found along the high elevation areas of the Chapada Diamantina plateaus, state of Bahia, while the other occurs in the cerrados of “Serra Geral”, in the occidental plateaus of that state. Psilops paeminosus comprises three distinct allopatric clades that, based on current evidence, cannot be diagnosed morphologically: one from the vicinities of the type locality, one from the lower São Francisco River, and a third from the uplands of Minas Gerais and southern inland Bahia. We keep the latter two as candidate species but defer their formal description until further evidence allows robust diagnosis. Derived clades of Psilops with shorter limbs have invaded hotter and drier environments, while mostly used sandy soils along their evolution.



Reptilia, Chapada Diamantina, Serra Geral, hemipenis, osteology, phylogeny, taxonomy

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