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 #2230894


ThesaurusRex
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 Genus Liolaemus

Hi everyone,

There is this one lizard genus that has been bugging me for quite a while. It’s called Liolaemus. The genus is located around South America (specifically Chile) and is composed of small, rough-scaled lizards. Their family is Liolaemidae.

But here’s the thing: They look *JUST* like spiny lizards. Here’s an example. Here you have a shining tree iguana from Liolaemus:


And now, back to Sceloporus. Here’s a Texas spiny lizard:



So, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I seriously think there is some sort of relation between the two; even from a genetic standpoint they surely can’t be too far apart. If they are different enough to not be in Sceloporus, it would make sense if they were at least in Phrynosomatidae. For example, the family Eublepharidae (Family containing the leopard geckos) spans from southwest Asia to the western United States. If a lizard family can be that distant, a simple gap from Central America to Chile doesn’t seem so big.

But, this is just me talking, and it is just me looking at a picture. I have not seen an actual liolaemid, nor know any additional information (Not because I haven’t yet, but because there is little information available). So if anyone reputable could find a solution, that would put an end to my mad curiosity here. Lol.



07/28/11  11:48pm

 #2231692


RedGator
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  Message To: ThesaurusRex   In reference to Message Id: 2230894


 Genus Liolaemus

How fortuitous! I just noticed this post right before I left work and headed straight for my herpetology meeting tonight, where the guest speaker was Robert Espinoza from Cal state Northridge. He was speaking about all the new species of reptiles and amphibians that they were discovering in Argentina. A genus that figured prominently was Liolaemus.

I noticed that there was a lot of convergence between them and Phrynosomatids (many looked like Uta, Uma, Urosaurus, etc.), so afterward I posed your question to him. The short answer is that the two groups can be distinguish from one another if you flip them upside down. Phrynosomatids have femoral pores (i.e. pores under their thighs) whereas Liolaemids have a row of pores above the cloaca. Then, there are a bunch of internal characters that distinguish them such as skeletal differences etc. The long answer is that the jury is still out in terms of their taxonomic status and relationships to other lizard groups. Some authors wish to reincorporate them and Phrynosomatids with the iguana family, while others go in the opposite direction and want to split the Liolaemid group up even further. The fact is, there simply isn’t enough known yet, and considering that lots of new species are still being discovered within that group, it’s possible that any definition we come up with to describe the family may be inadequate in the future. Hope that helps.



08/04/11  02:31am

 #2231693


RedGator
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  Message To: RedGator   In reference to Message Id: 2231692


 Genus Liolaemus

By the way, he also said that "Tree Iguana" is a very poor term for them. Very few actually climb trees.



08/04/11  02:39am

 #2231783


ThesaurusRex
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  Message To: RedGator   In reference to Message Id: 2231693


 Genus Liolaemus

Well that is very interesting to know, thank you. I was fixing to say, they looked a LOT like phrynosomatids!



08/04/11  06:47pm


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