Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3765.4.2

The high-level classification of skinks (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincomorpha)

S. BLAIR HEDGES

Abstract


Skinks are usually grouped in a single family, Scincidae (1,579 species) representing one-quarter of all lizard species. Other large lizard families, such as Gekkonidae (s.l.) and Iguanidae (s.l.), have been partitioned into multiple families in recent years, based mainly on evidence from molecular phylogenies. Subfamilies and informal suprageneric groups have been used for skinks, defined by morphological traits and supported increasingly by molecular phylogenies. Recently, a seven-family classification for skinks was proposed to replace that largely informal classification, create more manageable taxa, and faciliate systematic research on skinks. Those families are Acontidae (26 sp.), Egerniidae (58 sp.), Eugongylidae (418 sp.), Lygosomidae (52 sp.), Mabuyidae (190 sp.), Sphenomorphidae (546 sp.), and Scincidae (273 sp.). Representatives of 125 (84%) of the 154 genera of skinks are available in the public sequence databases and have been placed in molecular phylogenies that support the recognition of these families. However, two other molecular clades with species that have long been considered distinctive morphologically belong to two new families described here, Ristellidae fam. nov. (14 sp.) and Ateuchosauridae fam. nov. (2 sp.). Morphological diagnoses and species content for all nine families of skinks (Scincomorpha) are presented.


Keywords


reptile, lizard, evolution, systematics, taxonomy, classification

Full Text:

PDF/A (300.71 KB)

References


Austin, J.J. & Arnold, E.N. (2006) Using ancient and recent DNA to explore relationships of extinct and endangered Leiolopisma skinks (Reptilia : Scincidae) in the Mascarene islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 39, 503–511.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2005.12.011

Austin, J.J., Arnold, E.N. & Jones, C.G. (2009) Interrelationships and history of the slit-eared skinks (Gongylomorphus, Scincidae) of the Mascarene islands, based on mitochondrial DNA and nuclear gene sequences. Zootaxa, 55–68.

Austin, C.C., Das, I. & de Silva, A. (2004) Higher-level molecular phylogenetic relationships of the endemic genus Lankascincus from Sri Lanka based on nuclear DNA sequences. Lyriocephalus, 5, 11–22.

Batuwita, S. & Pethiyagoda, R. (2007) Description of new species of Sri Lankan litter skink (Squamata: Scincidae: Lankascincus). Ceylon Journal of Science, 36, 80–87.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v36i2.482

Bauer, A. (2003) On the identity of Lacerta punctata Linnaeus 1758, the type species of the genus Euprepis Wagler 1830, and the generic assignment of Afro-Malagasy skinks. African Journal of Herpetology, 52, 1–7.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21564574.2003.9635472

Brandley, M.C., Schmitz, A. & Reeder, T.W. (2005) Partitioned Bayesian analyses, partition choice, and the phylogenetic relationships of scincid lizards. Systematic Biology, 54, 373–390.

Broadley, D.G. (2006) A new species of Typhlacontias (Reptila: Scincidae: Feylininae). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 57, 557–560.

Camp, C.L. (1923) Classification of lizards. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 48, 289–481.

Chan-ard, T., Makchai, S. & Cota, M. (2011) Jarujinia: A new genus of lygosomine lizard from central Thailand, with a description of one new species. The Thailand Natural History Museum Journal, 5, 17–24.

Cope, E.D. (1864) On the characters of the higher groups of Reptila, Squamata, and especially the Diploglossa. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 16, 224–231.

Cope, E.D. (1875) Check-list of North American Batrachia and Reptilia; with a systematic list of the higher groups and an essay on geographical distribution. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 1, 1–104.

Couper, P.J., Covacevich, J.A., Marsterson, S.P. & Shea, G.M. (1996) Coggeria naufragus gen. et sp. nov., a sand-swimming skink from Fraser Island, Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 39, 233–241.

Crottini, A., Dordel, J., Kohler, J., Glaw, F., Schmitz, A. & Vences, M. (2009) A multilocus phylogeny of Malagasy scincid lizards elucidates the relationships of the fossorial genera Androngo and Cryptoscincus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 53, 345–350.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2009.05.024

Darevsky, I.S. & Orlov, N.L. (1994) Vietnascincus rugosus, a new genus and species of the Dasia-like arboreal skinks (Sauria, Scincidae) from Vietnam. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 1, 37–41.

Das, I., Dattagupta, B. & Gayen, N. (1998) Systematic Status of Lygosoma himalayanum tragbulensis Alcock, “1897” 1898 (Sauria: Scincidae) Collected by the Pamir Boundary Commission, 1885. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 5, 147–150.

Dolman, G. & Hugall, A.F. (2008) Combined mitochondrial and nuclear data enhance resolution of a rapid radiation of Australian rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 49, 782–794.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2008.09.021

Fuhn, I.E. (1969) The "polyphyletic" origin of the Genus Ablepharus (Reptilia, Scincidae): a case of parallel evolution. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 7, 67–76.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0469.1969.tb00849.x

Gamble, T., Bauer, A.M., Greenbaum, E. & Jackman, T.R. (2008) Evidence for Gondwanan vicariance in an ancient clade of gecko lizards. Journal of Biogeography, 35, 88–104.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01770.x

Gardner, M.G., Hugall, A.F., Donnellan, S.C., Hutchinson, M.N. & Foster, R. (2008) Molecular systematics of social skinks: phylogeny and taxonomy of the Egernia group (Reptilia: Scincidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 154, 781–794.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00422.x

Geissler, P., Nguyen, T.Q., Phung, T.M., Van Devender, R.W., Hartmann, T., Farkas, B., Ziegler, T. & Bohme, W. (2011) A review of Indochinese skinks of the genus Lygosoma Hardwicke & Gray, 1827 (Squamata: Scincidae), with natural history notes and an identification key. Biologia, 66, 1159–1176.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/s11756-011-0130-2

Gray, J.E. (1839) Catalogue of the slender-tongued saurians, with descriptions of many new genera and species. Annals of the Magazine of Natural History, 2 (11), 331–337.

Greer, A.E. (1967) The generic relationships of the African scincid genus Eumecia. Breviora, 276, 1–9.

Greer, A.E. (1970) A subfamilial classification of scincid lizards. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 139, 151–183.

Greer, A.E. (1974) The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology, 22, 1–67.

Greer, A.E. (1977) The systematics and evolutionary relationships of the scincid lizard genus Lygosoma. Journal of Natural History, 11, 515–540.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00222937700770451

Greer, A.E. (1979) A phylogenetic subdivision of Australian skinks. Records of the Australian Museum, 32, 339–371.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3853/j.0067-1975.32.1979.459

Greer, A.E. (1986) Lygosomine (Scincidae) monophyly: a third, corroborating character and a reply to critics. Journal of Herpetology, 20, 123–126.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1564144

Greer, A.E. (1990) Overlap pattern in the preanal scale row: an important systematic character in skinks. Journal of Herpetology, 24, 328–330.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1564410

Greer, A.E. (1991) Lankascincus, a new genus of scincid Lizards from Sri-Lanka, with descriptions of 3 new species. Journal of Herpetology, 25, 59–64.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1564795

Greer, A.E., Grandison, A.G.C. & Barbault, R. (1985) A new species of Lygosoma (Lacertilia, Scincidae) from West-Africa, with comments on Its biology. Journal of Herpetology, 19, 365–372.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1564264

Greer, A.E. & Nussbaum, R.A. (2000) New character useful in the systematics of the scincid lizard genus Mabuya Copeia, 2000, 615–618.
h
ttp://dx.doi.org/10.1643/0045-8511(2000)000[0615:ncuits]2.0.co;2

Greer, A.E. & Shea, G.M. (2000) A major new head scale character in non-lygosomine scincid lizards. Journal of Herpetology, 34, 629–634.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1565286

Grismer, L.L., Huat, E.Q.S., Siler, C.D., Chan, K.O., Wood, P.L., Grismer, J.L., Sah, S.A.M. & Ahmad, N. (2011) Peninsular Malaysia's first limbless lizard: a new species of skink of the genus Larutia (Bohme) from Pulau Pinang with a phylogeny of the genus. Zootaxa, 29–40.

Hedges, S.B. (2013) Revision shock in taxonomy. Zootaxa, 3681 (3), 297–298.
http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3681.3.11

Hedges, S.B. & Conn, C.E. (2012) A new skink fauna from Caribbean islands (Squamata, Mabuyidae, Mabuyinae). Zootaxa, 3288, 1–244.

Hutchinson, M.N., Donnellan, S.C., Baverstock, P.R., Simms, S. & Burgin, S. (1990) Immunological relationships and generic revision of the Australian lizards assigned to the Genus Leiolopisma (Scincidae, Lygosominae). Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series, 38, 535–554.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/zo9900535

Ineich, I., Schmitz, A., Chirio, L. & LeBreton, M. (2004) New species of Leptosiaphos (Scincidae) from Adamaoua Massif, Central-Northern Province, Cameroon. Journal of Herpetology, 38, 546–550.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1670/184-03a

Linkem, C.W., Diesmos, A.C. & Brown, R.M. (2011) Molecular systematics of the Philippine forest skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Sphenomorphus): testing morphological hypotheses of interspecific relationships. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 163, 1217–1243.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2011.00747.x

Mausfeld, P.A.S., Bohme, W., Misof, B.D.V. & Rocha, C.F.D. (2002) Phylogenetic affinities of Mabuya atlantica Schmtidt, 1945, endemic to the Atlantic Ocean archipelago of Fernando de Noronha (Brazil): necessity of partitioning the Genus Mabuya Fitzinger, 1826 (Scincidae: Lygosominae). Zoologischer Anzeiger, 241, 281–293.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1078/0044-5231-00081

Mausfeld, P. & Schmitz, A. (2003) Molecular phylogeography, intraspecific variation and speciation of the Asian scincid lizard genus Eutropis Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata : Reptilia : Scincidae): taxonomic and biogeographic implications. Organisms Diversity & Evolution, 3, 161–171.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1078/1439-6092-00068

Mausfeld, P. & Vrcibradic, D. (2002) On the nomenclature of the skink (Mabuya) endemic to the Western Atlantic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Journal of Herpetology, 36, 292–295.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1566004

Mittleman, M.B. (1952) A generic synopsis of the lizards of the subfamily Lygosominae. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 117, 1–35.

Oppel, M. (1811) Die Ordnungen, Familien und Gattungen der Reptilien, als Prodrom einer Naturgeschichte derselben. Joseph Lindauer, Munich, 86 pp.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.4911

Ota, H., Lin, J.T., Bogadek, A. & Lau, M.W. (1997) Karyotype of the lygosomine genus Ateuchosaurus from East Asia. Journal of Herpetology, 31, 604–607.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1565622

Pyron, R.A., Burbrink, F.T. & Wiens, J.J. (2013) A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13, 93.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-13-93

Reeder, T.W. (2003) A phylogeny of the Australian Sphenomorphus group (Scincidae: Squamata) and the phylogenetic placement of the crocodile skinks (Tribolonotus): Bayesian approaches to assessing congruence and obtaining confidence in maximum likelihood inferred relationships. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 27, 384–397.
h
ttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1055-7903(02)00448-7

Sadlier, R.A., Smith, S.A. & Bauer, A.M. (2006) A new genus for the New Caledonian scincid lizard Lygosoma euryotis Werner, 1909, and the description of a new species. Records of the Australian Museum, 58, 19–28.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3853/j.0067-1975.58.2006.1457

Sakata, S. & Hikida, T. (2003) A fossorial lizard with forelimbs only: description of a new genus and species of Malagasy skink (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae). Current Herpetology, 22, 9–15.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5358/hsj.22.9

Savage, J.M. (2002) The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 934 pp.

Schmitz, A. (2003) Taxonomic and phylogenetic studies on scincid lizards (Reptilia: Scincidae). Thesis. University of Bonn, Germany, 524 pp.

Schmitz, A., Brandley, M.C., Mausfeld, P., Vences, M., Glaw, F., Nussbaum, R.A. & Reeder, T.W. (2005) Opening the black box: phylogenetics and morphological evolution of the Malagasy fossorial lizards of the subfamily "Scincinae". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 34, 118–133.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2004.08.016

Schmitz, A., Mausfeld, P. & Embert, D. (2004) Molecular studies on the genus Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834: phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications. Hamadryad, 28, 73–89.

Siler, C.D., Diesmos, A.C., Alcala, A.C. & Brown, R.M. (2011) Phylogeny of Philippine slender skinks (Scincidae: Brachymeles) reveals underestimated species diversity, complex biogeographical relationships, and cryptic patterns of lineage diversification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 59, 53–65.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2010.12.019

Skinner, A., Hugall, A.F. & Hutchinson, M.N. (2011) Lygosomine phylogeny and the origins of Australian scincid lizards. Journal of Biogeography, 38, 1044–1058.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02471.x

Smith, M.A. (1935) The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol II. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.

Smith, S.A., Sadlier, R.A., Bauer, A.M., Austin, C.C. & Jackman, T. (2007) Molecular phylogeny of the scincid lizards of New Caledonia and adjacent areas: evidence for a single origin of the endemic skinks of Tasmantis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 43, 1151–1166.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.02.007

Stejneger, L. (1907) Herpetology of Japan and adjacent territory. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 58, 1–577.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5479/si.03629236.58.i

Townsend, T.M., Mulcahy, D.G., Noonan, B.P., Sites, J.W., Kuczynski, C.A., Wiens, J.J. & Reeder, T.W. (2011) Phylogeny of iguanian lizards inferred from 29 nuclear loci, and a comparison of concatenated and species-tree approaches for an ancient, rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61, 363–380.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2011.07.008

Truong, N.Q., Tung, T.T., Ngoc, H.V., Böhme, W. & Ziegler, T. (2008) Rediscovery and redescription of Ateuchosaurus chinensis Gray, 1845 (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae) from northeastern Vietnam. Herpetology Notes, 1, 17–21.

Uetz, P., Hošek, J. (2014) The Reptile Database. Available from: http://www.reptile-database.org/ (accessed 1 January 2014)

Vences, M., Guayasamin, J.M., Miralles, A. & De la Riva, I. (2013) To name or not to name: Criteria to promote economy of change in Linnaean classification schemes. Zootaxa, 3636, 201–244.
http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3636.2.1

Vidal, N. & Hedges, S.B. (2005) The phylogeny of squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians) inferred from nine nuclear protein-coding genes. Comptes Rendus Biologies, 328, 1000–1008.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crvi.2005.10.001

Wagner, P., Bohme, W., Pauwels, O.S.G. & Schmitz, A. (2009) A review of the African red-flanked skinks of the Lygosoma fernandi (BURTON, 1836) species group (Squamata: Scincidae) and the role of climate change in their speciation. Zootaxa, 2050, 1–30.

Welch, K.R.G. (1982) Herpetology of the Old World. II. Preliminary comments on the classification of skinks (Family Scincidae) with specific reference to those genera found in Africa, Europe, and southwest Asia. Herptile, 7, 25–27.

Whiting, A.S., Sites, J.W. & Bauer, A.M. (2004) Molecular phylogenetics of Malagasy skinks (Squamata: Scincidae). African Journal of Herpetology, 53, 135–146.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21564574.2004.9635506

Wickramasinghe, L.J.M., Rodrigo, R., Dayawansa, N. & Jayantha, U.L.D. (2007) Two new species of Lankascincus (Squamata: Scincidae) from Sripada sanctuary (Peak Wilderness), in Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 1612, 1–24.

Zhao, E.M. & Adler, K. (1993) Herpetology of China. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York, 522 pp.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


 
ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa