Systematics of the genera Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834 and Eurylepis Blyth 1854 (Sauria: Scincidae): A review

Document Type : Review Articles


1 Razi University

2 Hakim Sabzevari University

3 Kharazmi University


There are several papers related to the split of the genus Eumeces sensu lato into four distinct genera (Eumeces sensu stricto Wiegmann, 1834; Plestiodon Duméril & Bibron, 1839; Mesoscincus Griffith, Ngo & Murphy, 2000 and Eurylepis Blyth, 1854). From these, three important ones stand out. The genus has undergone extensive taxonomic changes. There was an initial morphologcial split which identified the correct four groups but failed to get the correct nomenclatures. These errors were later corrected. In a chronological order, Novoeumeces suggested as a new name for the schneiderii group and subsequently re-changed to the genus Eumeces s.s. North American-clade is now considered as Plestiodon. The name Eumeces (sensu stricto) was retained for the group close to the type species (Eumeces pavimentatus) which is part of the African-Central Asian clade. There are now only five species of Eumeces left. The others (old Eumeces) are now found in Eurylepis (2 species), Mesoscincus (3 species) and Plestiodon (47 species). A detailed story of these changes plus a brief comparison of current four genera based on mentioned morphological characters in the literatures are discussed in this paper.


ANDERSON, J., 1871. On two saurian genera, Eurylepis and Plocederma Blyth, wuth a description of a new species of Mabouia, Fitzinger. Processing Asiatic Society Bengal, 1871, pp. 186-187.
BRANDLEY, M., SCHMITZ, A., & REEDER, T., 2005. Partitioned Bayesian Analyses, Partition Choice, and the Phylogenetic Relationships of Scincid Lizards. Systematic Biology, 54(3), 373–390.
Accommodating locus-specific heterogeneity in molecular dating methods: an example using inter-continental dispersal of Plestiodon (Eumeces) lizards. Systematic Biology 60:3-15.
BRANDLEY, M., OTA, H., TSUTOMU H., ADRIÁN NIETO ONTES DE OCA, MANUEL F., XIANGUANG G., & YUEZHAO W., 2012. The phylogenetic systematics of blue-tailed skinks (Plestiodon) and the family Scincidae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 165, 163–189. With 4 figures.
CAPUTO, V., ODIERNA, G., APREA, G., & CAPRIGLIONE, T., 1993. Eumeces algeriensis, a full species of the E. schneiderii group (Scincidae): karyological and morphological evidence. Amphibia-Reptilia, 14, 187-194.
CAPUTO, V., ODIERNA, G., & APREA, G., 1994. A chromosomal study of Eumeces and Scincus, primitive members of the Scincidae (Reptilia, Squamata). Bulltin of Zoology, 61, 155-162.
CAPRIGLIONE, T., 1987. New data on karyotype of some Scincidae. Caryologia, 40,109-114.
CHAIRMAN, R; COGGER H., DUPUIS C. KRAUS, O., & MINELLI A., Thompson C., Tubbs K., 2000. International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Fourth Edition, adopted by the International Union of Biological Sciences The provisions of this Code supersede those of the previous editions with effect from 1 January 2000.
DESMET, W. H., 1981. Description of the orcein stained karyotypes of 36 lizard species (Lacertilia, Reptilia) belonging to the families Teiidae, Scincidae, Lacertidae, Cordylidae and Varanidae (Autarchoglossa). Acta Zoologica. 76, 73-118.
CARRANZA, S., ARNOLD, N., GENIEZ, P., ROCA, J., & MATEO, J., 2008. Radiation, multiple dispersal and parallelism in the skinks, Chalcides and Sphenops (Squamata: Scincidae), with comments on Scincus and Scincopus and the age of the Sahara Desert. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 46, 1071 1094.
DEWEESE, J. E., & WRIGHT, J.W., 1970. A preliminary karyological analysis of scincid lizards. Mammalian Chromosomes Newsletter, 11, 95–96.
DUNN, E. R., 1933. A new lizard from Nicaragua. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 46, 67–68.
EREMTSCHENKO, V. K., PANFILOV, A. M., & TSARIENKO, E. I., 1992. [Summary of the studies on cytogenetics and systematics of several Asiatic species. Scincidae and Lacertidae.] Ilim Press, Bishkek. 188 pp. [in Russian.]
GIOVANNOTTI, M., CAPUTO, V., BRIEN, P., LOVELL, F., TRIFONOV, V., CERIONI, P., OLMO, E., FERGUSON-SMITH, M., & RENS, W., 2009. Skinks (Reptilia: Scincidae) have highly conserved karyotypes as revealed by chromosome painting. Cytogenet Genome Research. 127(2-4), 224-31.
GAMBLE, T., BAUER, A. M., GREENBAUM, E., & JACKMAN, T.R., 2008. Evidence for Gondwanan vicariance in an ancient clade of gecko lizards. Journal of Biogeography, 35, 88–104.
GORMAN, G. C., 1973. The chromosomes of the Reptilia, a cytotaxonomy interpretation, In: Cytotaxonomy and vertebrate evolution. pp: 349-424. A. B. Chiarelli & E. Capanna (Eds). Academic Press, London and New York.
GRIFFITH, H., NGO, A., & MURPHY, R.W., 2000. A cladistic evaluation of the cosmopolitan genus Eumeces Wiegmann (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae). Russian Journal of Herpetology, 7 (1), 1-16. ("Novoeumeces gen nov.", p. 11).
GREER, A. E., 1970. A subfamilial classification of scincid lizards, Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 139, 151 – 184.
GREER, A. E., 1986. Lygosominae monophyly: a third, corroborating character and a reply to critics, Journal of Herpetology, 20, 123 – 126.
GUO, C., DONG Y., 1988. A comparative study on the karyotypes and Ag-stained NORs of two species of wild skinks from Huang Shan. Hereditas, 10, 17-19.
HASSAN, H. A., 1996. Chromosomal studies of four Egyptian lizards of the families Agamidae and Scincidae. Cytologia, 61, 443-455.
HEDGES, B., 2014. The high-level classification of skinks (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincomorpha). Zootaxa, 3765 (4), 317–338.
HEDGES, S. B., & CONN, C. E., 2012. A new skink fauna from Caribbean islands (Squamata, Mabuyidae, Mabuyinae). Zootaxa, 3288, 1–244.
IVANOV, V. G., & BOGDANOV, O. P., 1975. The karyotype of Eumeces taeniolatus (Sauria: Scincidae). Tsitologiya, 17,861-863.
KATO, J., HIKIDA, T., BOGADEK, A., LAU, M.W., & OTA, H., 1998. Karyotype of the Chinese Four-lined skink, Eumeces quadrilineatus (Reptilia: Scincidae), from Hong Kong. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 46, 35-40.
KHAN, M. S., & KHAN, R. Z., 1997. A New skink from the Thal Desert of Pakistan, Asiatic Herpetological Research, 7, 61 – 67.
KUMLUTAŞ, Y., ARIKAN, H., ILGAZ, Ç. & KASKA, Y., 2007. A new subspecies, Eumeces schneiderii barani n. ssp (Reptilia: Sauria: Scincidae) from Turkey. Zootaxa, 1387, 27-38.
KUPRIYANOVA, L. A., 1973. The karyotype characteristics of two species of the Scincidae family. Tsitologiya 15: 1135-1142. [In Russian.]
KUPRIYANOVA, L. A., 1986. On karyotype evolution in lizards. In: Studies in herpetology. pp: 85-88. Z. Rocek (Ed). Charles University, Prague.
MASROOR, R., 2009. Description of a new species of Eumeces (Sauria: Scincidae) from Pakistan. Zootaxa, 2161, 33–46.
MURAT, A., CEMAL, V., & KERIM, Ç. 2014. On the Eumeces schneiderii (Daudin, 1802) (Sauria: Scincidae) specimens collected from Northeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Biharean Biologist 8 (1), 1-4. Article No.: 141101.
PERERA, A., SAMPAIO, F., COSTA, S., DANIELE, S., & HARRIS, J., 2012. Genetic variability and relationships within the skinks Eumeces algeriensis and Eumeces schneiderii using mitochondrial markers. African Journal of Herpetology, 61, 1, 69-80.
PYRON, R.A., BURBRINK, F.T., & WIENs, J.J., 2013. A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13, 93, 1-53.
SCHMITZ, A., PATRICK, M., &, Dirk, E., 2004. Molecular studies on the genus Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834: phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications. Hamadryad, 28 (1-2), 73–89.
SINDACO, R., & JEREMCENKO, V.K., 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp.
TAYLOR, E. H., 1935. A taxonomic study of the cosmopolitan scincoid lizards of the genus Eumeces with an account of the distribution and relationships of its species, University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 23, 1 – 643.
TOWNSEND, T. M., MULCAHY, D. G., NOONAN, B. P., SITES, J. W., KUCZYNSKI, C. A., WIENS, J. J., & REEDER, T. W., 2011. Phylogeny of iguanian lizards inferred from 29 nuclear loci, and a comparison of concatenated and species-tree approaches for an ancient, rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61, 363–380.
WHITING, A., BAUER, A., & SITES W., 2003. Phylogenetic relationships and limb loss in sub-Saharan African scincine lizards (Squamata: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 29, 582–598.
WHITING, A., 2004. Phylogenetic Systematics and evolution within the family Scincidae. A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Brigham Young University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
YALÇINKAYA, D., 2013. Taxonomy and Biology of Eumeces schneiderii Daudin, 1802 (Sauria: Scincidae) Populations in Anatolia and Cyprus, PhD dissertation, completed in February 15th, 2013.
UETZ, P., & JIRÍ, H., 2014. The Reptile Database,, accessed Dec 8, 2014.