oa Annals of the Natal Museum - The genus Scelotes Fitzinger (Reptilia: Scincidae) in Mozambique, Swaziland and Natal, South Africa

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0304-0798



The species of Scelotes in Mozambique, Swaziland and Natal (South Africa) are reviewed, based on the examination of 655 specimens from this region and the adjacent eastern Transvaal. Five species-­groups are recognised. The monotypic S. mirus group has four pentadactyle limbs and is restricted to montane grassland. The didactyle S. bidigittatus group is represented by S. duttoni on the Bazaruto Archipelago (which retains a minute forelimb bud) and the lowveld species S. bidigittatus. The widespread species S. mossambicus (= S. brevipes auct.), with a well-developed hindlimb bud, has a derived form S. fitzsimonsi sp. n., which lacks a hindlimb bud and is restricted to a narrow coastal strip. The S. inornatus group consists of three large species with restricted ranges, S. guentheri and S. bourquilli sp. n. with small hindlimb buds from Durban and the Natal Midlands respectively, and the limbless S. inornatus from the Durban area. The three species of the S. arenicola group have only three supraoculars and are restricted to coastal alluvium. S. vestigifer sp. n. retains vestigial hindlimb buds and has a relict distribution on the southern margin of the range of S. arenicola. S. insularis inhabits the Bazaruto Archipelago.

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