Biologists from the Department of Herpetology at the Museum of Natural History (MHN) of San Marcos University (UNMSM)
have reported the discovery of a new lizard species, named "Stenocercus Ica," in the Ica River basin located between 300 and 450 m.a.s.l.
It is similar —in ecology and morphology— to Stenocercus modestus but differs —among other features— in lacking an oblique fold on the neck and not having the patch of scales as well as yellow spots in the case of males.
The females have a broad dark band that extends from the subocular scales to the antehumeral area, as well as dark reticles on the neck.
Regarding its conservation status, the authors recommend that the new species be classified as "endangered," based on the area of occupation and localities with threats.
75 described species
According to the study, the Stenocercus genus —to which the new species belongs— comprises 75 described species that inhabit Amazonian and desert environments in South America but have a greater presence in the Andean region.
Peru is home to at least 62% of these species, most of which live in habitats as diverse as equatorial montane, tropical humid, and dry forests.
So far, the lizard S. modestus —native to the Lima region— had been the only species of this genus reported in coastal desert habitats.
The report on this new species extends the distribution of the Stenocercus genus some 300 km south, in the coastal desert of the Pacific.