Sirenoscincus mobydick

Sirenoscincus mobydick
Sirenoscincus mobydick
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Sirenoscincus
Species: S. mobydick
Binomial name
Sirenoscincus mobydick
Miralles et al., 2012[1]
Distribution of S. mobydick in Madagascar.
  • Sirenoscincus mobydick
    Miralles et al., 2012
  • Voeltzkowia mobydick
    — Miralles et al., 2015

Sirenoscincus mobydick is a species of mermaid skink, a lizard in the family Scincidae.[2] In 2012, the species was first described in a paper by French herpetologists Aurélien Miralles, Miguel Vences, and their colleagues.[1]


Head and forelimbs of S. mobydick.

Mermaid skinks have only forelimbs, no hind limbs, hence the common name "mermaid skink". This species's forelimbs are shaped like flippers (Sirenoscincus yamagishii has claws). The scientific name Sirenoscincus mobydick consists of the pre-existing parent genus Sirenoscincus, and the name of the white sperm whale from the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. The species name is appropriate because whales have no hind limbs, only forelimbs shaped like flippers, and so does this species of skink. It also lacks pigmentation as Moby-Dick did.[1]

The type series consists of two specimens that measured 67–71 mm (2.6–2.8 in) in snout–vent length. The body is about 4 mm (0.16 in) wide at midbody. In preserved specimens, body is entirely pale with eyes visible as dark spots. Colour is assumed to be pinkish in live animals.[1]


This species is endemic to Madagascar, specifically the Sofia Region. The type locality is the urban commune of Boriziny (French: Port-Bergé), Sofia Region, Madagascar.[1]


In 2015 Sirenoscincus mobydick was reassigned to the genus Voeltzkowia, as Voeltzkowia mobydick, by Miralles et al.[2][3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Miralles, Aurélien; Mirana Anjeriniaina; Christy A. Hipsley; Johannes Müller; Frank Glaw; Miguel Vences (2012). "Variations on a bauplan: description of a new Malagasy "mermaid skink" with flipper-like forelimbs only (Scincidae, Sirenoscincus Sakata & Hikida, 2003)". Zoosystema. 34 (4): 701–719. doi:10.5252/z2012n4a3. (Sirenoscincus mobydick, new species).
  2. 1 2 3 Voeltzkowia mobydick at the Reptile Database. Accessed 16 July 2016.
  3. Miralles, Aurélien; Christy A. Hipsley; Jesse Erens; Marcelo Gehara; Andolalao Rakotoarison; Frank Glaw; Johannes Müller; Miguel Vences (2015). "Distinct Patterns of Desynchronized Limb Regression in Malagasy Scincine Lizards (Squamata, Scincidae)". PLoS ONE 10 (6): e0126074. (Voeltzkowia mobydick, new combination).
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/26/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.