Australian Museum Journal A new species of Lerista (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from northern Queensland, with remarks on the origin of the genus

Shortform:
Greer, 1979, Rec. Aust. Mus. 32(10): 383–388
Author(s):
Greer, Allen E.
Year published:
1979
Title:
A new species of Lerista (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from northern Queensland, with remarks on the origin of the genus
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum
Volume:
32
Issue:
10
Start page:
383
End page:
388
DOI:
10.3853/j.0067-1975.32.1979.461
Language:
English
Date published:
30 September 1979
Cover date:
30 September 1979
ISSN:
0067-1975
CODEN:
RAUMAJ
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
REPTILIA; TAXONOMY
Digitized:
19 January 2009
Available online:
27 February 2009
Reference number:
461
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (87kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (526kb PDF)

Abstract

With 34 described species (Cogger 1975), Lerista is the second largest genus of lizards in Australia, and like the largest genus—the scincid genus Ctenotus with 53 described species - it is widespread in the arid, semi-arid and seasonally dry parts of the continent. In contrast to the large, surface dwelling species of Ctenotus, however, the species of Lerista are small, attenuate forms with reduced or non-existent limbs and cryptozoic to fossorial habits.

As a result of the painstaking work of Dr Glen Storr of the Western Australian Museum, the alpha taxonomy of both genera in the western half of the continent is well known. In the eastern half, however, the alpha taxonomy of the two genera is still poorly known and several species await description in both groups. Both taxa are important to our understanding of how lizards have evolved in the vast arid regions of Australia (see for example Pianka's [1972] use of Ctenotus in his zoogeographical analysis of Australian desert lizards), and a sound and complete taxonomy of the two groups is therefore greatly to be desired.

The purpose of this paper is to describe a new species of Lerista from northern Queensland that is unusual in being legless and to comment on the origin of the genus.

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