Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Species of Liolaemus

Liolaemus is a genus of South American lizards composed of at least 223 species ranging from Tierra del Fuego (southern Argentina) to Central PerĂº. While some species are found at sea level, many are found at high elevations, up to 4500 m. They have a tendency to like living on vertical surfaces such as tree trunks and rock faces.  Andres Q. Quinteros and Christian S. Abdala have now added a new species to what is perhaps the most species rich genus of lizards, with the exception of Anolis. The new species, Liolaemus vulcanus, is a member of the L. dorbignyi group within the montanus series. It was previously confused with L. dorbignyi, but it exhibits color and pattern differences. Liolaemus vulcanus is saxicolous and it inhabits in rocky hills in the Puna regions of Northwestern Argentina. L. vulcanus inhabits the Puna region of Catamarca Province, in Paycuqui, near the Trapiche river and the Punilla River, Antofagasta de la Sierra Department. It is saxicolous, living on rocky outcrops and can be seen basking on rocks. Like all other members of the montanus series it is viviparous.  The new species is sympatric with L. poecilochromus and Phymaturus laurenti. The name is derived from the Vulcan, the god of fire, because Liolaemus vulcanus has an orange-red body.

Quinteros, A. Q. and C. S. Abdala. 2011. A new species of Liolaemus of the Liolaemus montanus section (Iguania: Liolaemidae) from Northwestern Argentina. Zootaxa 2789: 35–48. 

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