Teiid lizards of the genus Neusticurus (Reptilia, Sauria). Bulletin of the AMNH ; v. 132, article 5
New York : [American Museum of Natural History]
"Examination of 310 specimens, including type material of eight of the 12 previously proposed names, indicates that lizards of the genus can conveniently be separated into seven species and eight forms. On the basis of characters of the hemipenis, the seven species form two quite distinct groups. Neusticurus bicarinatus, N. tatei, and N. rudis have few flounces (eight to 12), no calcareous spinules in the flounces, a reduced dorsal welt in the inverted organ, and zigzag flounces in the inverted organ. Neusticurus ecpleopus, N. strangulatus, N. cochranae, and N. apodemus have more flounces (11-20), numerous calcareous spinules in the flounces, the free ends in the edge of the flounce, a well-developed dorsal welt in the inverted organ, and chevron-shaped flounces. These two groups have discrete ranges: Neusticurus tatei is known only from the Guayanan uplands; N. rudis occurs there and in the lowlands of the Guianas. Neusticurus bicarinatus occurs in these areas and widely throughout the Amazon Valley. On the other hand, N. cochranae is known only from the eastern Andean slopes of Ecuador. Neusticurus strangulatus occurs on the eastern Andean slopes from Ecuador to central Peru. Neusticurus ecpleopus is widely distributed on the eastern Andean slopes from central Bolivia to southern Colombia. Neusticurus apodemus is isolated in southwestern Costa Rica. Additional characters unite the species in these two groups. Neusticurus bicarinatus, N. tatei, and N. rudis have more (24-32) transverse rows of ventral scales; usually the canthus rostralis is angular. Neusticurus ecpleopus, N. apodemus, N. strangulatus, and N. cochranae have fewer (19-26) transverse rows of ventral scales; usually the canthus rostralis is more rounded. Neusticurus ecpleopus, N. apodemus, N. strangulatus, and N. cochranae have poorly to well-developed, black-bordered, white-centered ocelli; ocelli do not occur in N. bicarinatus, N. rudis, or N. tatei. Neusticurus bicarinatus and N. tatei share a recessed tympanum, strongly compressed tails, and complex hemipenial flounces; they appear to be closely related. Neusticurus ecpleopus and N. apodemus have longitudinal rows of tubercles on the upper sides of the neck and tubercles on the sides of the body and posterior end of the head. They are closely related. Lizards of the genus Neusticurus apparently lay two eggs per clutch. Nineteen of 20 females with oviducal eggs contained one egg in each oviduct; the single exception had an egg in one oviduct only. Observations are not available for N. apodemus. Many species of Neusticurus are diurnal and semiaquatic. Observations are available for N. ecpleopus, N. rudis, N. tatei. Neusticurus apodemus is semiaquatic and partly nocturnal. The very short tail of N. cochranae suggests that it is not aquatic; it may be partly nocturnal. The strongly compressed tail of N. bicarinatus suggests that it is semiaquatic; it is probably diurnal. The habits of N. strangulatus are not known, but the well developed ocelli of some specimens suggest that it may be diurnal. Within Group II of the family Teiidae, Neusticurus appears to be most closely related to Echinosura. The present distribution of the forms of these two genera suggests an early division into Echinosaura in the Caribbean and Pacific lowlands of northwestern South America, and two groups of Neusticurus, one on the eastern Andean slopes and another in the Guayana highlands area. It seems likely that the respective adaptations of these two groups serve to prevent extensive contact between them. The widespread Guayanan species N. bicarinatus seems well adapted to the Amazon lowlands. This specialization probably keeps it from moving far into the Andean region. The most widespread Andean species (N. ecpleopus) does not occur far into the Amazon lowlands. It seems to lack special adaptations for this habitat. The lack of morphological intermediates between these two groups suggests that they have been long isolated. Neusticurus ecpleopus and N. apodemus are closely related. The present range of N. apodemus represents a past transgression of the Andes by N. ecpleopus or its immediate ancestor. The partly nocturnal habits of N. apodemus and the partly nocturnal and more terrestrial habits of Echinosaura horrida may reflect competition of both with iguanid lizards of the genus Basiliscus, which occur in Pacific and Caribbean Central America and South America, and which are semiaquatic. Systematic changes include transfer of Arthrosaura tatei to Neusticurus; N. racenisi is considered a synonym of N. tatei. Neusticurus dejongi and N. surinamensis are both considered synonyms of N. rudis. Neusticurus ocellatus and N. tuberculatus are both considered synonyms of N. ecpleopus. Neusticurus rudis, N. tatei, and N. ecpleopus all vary geographically, but subspecies are not recognized nomenclatorially. Neusticurus apodemus, an isolated species from Costa Rica, is described; it is closely related to N. ecpleopus. Neusticurus cochranae is recognized as a species different from N. ecpleopus. Euspondylus testae is considered a synonym of Neusticurus strangulatus; a subspecies with tubercles from central Peru (N. s. trachodus) is described"--P. 322-323.
p. 279-327 : ill., maps ; 27 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 326-327).
Includes bibliographical references (p. 326-327).