Abstract

Recent studies on the systematics and phylogeny of the blue-tailed skinks in the Plestiodon brevirostris group identified a population from the Sierra Madre del Sur of eastern Guerrero, Mexico, that appeared to represent an undescribed species. Here, we formally describe this lineage as a new species, compare it with the other species in the P. brevirostris group, identify a specimen from western Oaxaca that belongs to the new species, and provide an updated key to the group. The new species is morphologically similar and closely related to P. ochoterenae, but molecular and morphological data support its evolutionary independence. The new species is distinguished from the other species in the P. brevirostris group, except for P. ochoterenae, by the presence of a primary temporal, a well-defined lateral pale line on the neck, and a well-defined dorsolateral pale line that extends posteriorly to the level of the hind limbs. It differs from P. ochoterenae by having longer limbs and a well-defined lateral pale line on the neck. The present study further highlights the relevance of the Sierra Madre del Sur as a hotspot of endemism and undescribed diversity.

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