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Published: 2017-08-11

Solving a 50-year Mystery: Rediscovery of Mesaspis antauges (Squamata: Anguidae)

Departamento de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510, Ciudad de México, México.
Herpetario Palancoatl, Av. 19, No. 5225, Col. Nueva Esperanza, Córdoba, Veracruz, México
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA
Reptilia Squamata Anguidae


Vertebrate rediscoveries occur frequently, but must be properly documented for scientific credibility. Ongoing rediscoveries suggest a need for greater caution in declaring species extinct. Here, we report a rediscovery of the mysterious Mexican anguid lizard Mesaspis antauges (Cope 1866), a species last recorded by scientists in 1964. Our comparison of newly-collected material against previous specimens, all of which apparently originate from a single isolated volcanic peak, confirms the taxonomic validity of this species and the relegation of the binomen M. modestus (Cope 1878) to the status of a junior synonym. We include a brief discussion of the natural history of M. antauges, and explore the conservation implications of our rediscovery.



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