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Article
Published: 2019-02-22

A new Nucras Gray, 1838 (Squamata: Lacertidae) from the Strandveld of the Western Cape, South Africa

Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA.
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
Laboratory of Functional Morphology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk 2610, Belgium.
Department of Botany & Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602 Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Reptilia Sandveld lizard Lambert’s Bay description molecular phylogeny

Abstract

A striking new sandveld lizard of the Nucras tessellata group is described from the Lambert’s Bay Strandveld of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. It is sister to the clade N. livida + N. tessellata, and is phenetically most similar to N. tessellata, from which it differs in its more elongate body and possibly increased number of presacral vertebrae and patternless orange dorsal coloration. The form elegans, described as a species by Andrew Smith (1838), but treated as an infrasubspecific variant by Broadley (1972), also exhibits weak patterning, but is likely a regional color variant. Nucras aurantiaca sp. nov. is the ninth member of the genus found in southern Africa. Its discovery in the well-collected coastal Western Cape suggests that further herpetofaunal surveys are needed in this region, which is threatened by agricultural activity and tourism-related development.

 

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