Revision of the African lizards in the family CORDYLIDAE", by Arthur Loveridge, November 1944, Bull. Mus. Comp. Cambridge, Mass.,95 (1):1- 118
Cordylus tropidosternum tropidosternum (COPE)
Names: Eastern Girdle-tail ( English ); kiumambusi ( Swahili:Tornier );chicologolo ( Mwera:Loveridge)
Description: Head slighly depressed; head shields strongly rugose; rostral in contact with, or seperated from, the frontonasal, which is longer than broad; nostril pierced in the postero - inferior corner of a large nasal which is not much swollen; a loreal; a preocular; the larger subocular not descending to the lip; fourth upper labial lowest, fifth highest; prefrontals forming a suture or separated; postfrontals longer than broad or as long as broad; interparietal enclosed between 2 pairs of parietals; posterior parietals slightly larger than the anterior; 3 - 4 rugose, subequal occipitals; temporals rugose, with or without keels, without spines; sides of neck with keeled, spinose scales; gulars small, the anterior irregularly enlarged, the median slightly imbricate, keeled; collar scales larger, sometimes mucronate. Dorsals slightly elongate, rugose, strongly keeled, shortly mucronate, posteriorly serrate, those on the vertebral line not or but slightly differentiated; laterals keeled, spinose, scarcely seperated by minute granular interspaces; ventrals quadrangular, smooth or keeled, not or but slightly imbricate; scales below fore and hind limbs slightly keeled; tail with whorls of large, strongly striate, keeled, serrate ( in adults, but noticeably in young ), spinose scales above and below, the lateral spines longest.
Color. Above, head dark brown, lip to ear usually yellow; back yellowish, yellowish brown, reddish brown, grayish brown, blackish brown or rich brown, uniform or clouded, variegated, or spotted with darker, a broad blackish streak on side of neck from above tympanum to forearm, sometimes persisting as a distinct ( Rhodesia ) or ill - defined ( Tanganyika ) lateral band. Below uniform greenish, grayish, yellowish, or reddish ( stained by lateral soil ) white.
Size. Total length of male, 180 ( 90 + 90 ) mm, and female, 170 ( 95 + 75 ) mm, both from Morogoro. The head and body length of the types are: 92 mm ( tropidosternum ), 70 mm ( frenatus ), and 92 mm ( parkeri ), the tails being damaged on the two largest.
Remarks. The type, formerly Museum of the Essex Institute no. 500, now Mus. Comp. ZoŲl. 5742, is apparently a male but it is somewhat macerated and the viscera have been removed. Mocquard ( 1909, p. 4 ) was correct in eleŪminating tropidosternum from the Malagasy herpetofauna. Hewitt ( 1910a ) also discusses the matter, but takes a contrary view. If actually taken on the island, its presence may be readily explained by the extensive dhow trade across the Mozambique channel, this species being subject to transportation in hollow logs which have been cut for fuel. In this connection it is interesting to note that Copeís type bears a closer resemblance to the series from Birchenough Bridge, Southern Rhodesia, than it does to Tanganyikan lizards. I have spent much time in endeavouring to find other than color characters by which to separate the Tanganyikan lizards ( for which the name frenatus would be available ), but the differences appeear too slight to justify such action. I migth say, however, that parkeri of Mozambique, which allegedly differed from tropidosternum, is definitely a synonym of that race. Elsewhere I (1936j ) have discussed in detail the relative lengths of fingers and toes and other variable characters employed by Cott for the separation. In Cottís paratype of parkeri, though not in the type, and in five of eigth specimens taken at the Birchenough Bridge by FitzSimons, the prefrontals were seperated by the frontonasal being in contact with the frontal. Tornierís (1896 ) error of dividing Tanganyika material on the basis of rostral being in contact with, or seperated from, the frontonasal by a suture of nasals, was later corrected by Nieden ( 1913c ). More recently Mertens (1937d ) has invited attention to minor differences exhibited by his six lizards from Matete Woods.
Breeding. On July 28, at Makindu, I took a female which held 4 large eggs. Tornier found 5 embryos in a female, apparently from Dar es Salaam but without date.
Diet. Each of four stomachs examined held termites, a glowworm fell from the mouth of a fifth, while a captive lizard fed readily on small grasshoppers.
Parasites. The nematode worm ( Oochoristica zonuri ) described as from this species, actually came from a Gerrhosarus m. major, the error in labeling it in 1918 was mine.
Enemies. Their spines do not affer perfect protection. I recovered one from the stomach of a Bare-faced Hawk,( Gymnogenys t. typicus ), while another was caught and eaten by a young galago( Galago c. panganiensis ) which had been temporarily put in the vivarium.
Habitat. Coastal zone and upland savanna, where they are found upon hollow trees into whose interiors they retreat and from which it is difficult to dislodge them. One was actually brought into camp in a hollow log - in which she had remained while it was being chopped down - and did not even show herself when the log was roughly flung down. Three were taken from holes in the base of a wall. Two others after torrential downpours, were found in roadside gutters in a halfdrowned condition, having evidently been washed out of some retreat.One was caught running over papers on the table in my tent. In East Africa the species may generally be considered scarce except perhaps at Morogoro where eleven were taken during a year.
FitzSimons ( 1939b ), who took eight specimens at Birchenough Bridge, found them living in the rotted-out cavities of mopane trees.
Localities. Kenya Colony; Sokoki Forest. Tanganyika Territory; Dar es Salem; Kakoma; Kipera; Makindu; Msiha River; Matete; Mhonda; Morogoro; Msimba; Nchingidi, Rondo Plateau; Pentambili; PotuŽ, Usambara district; Rufigi; Tendaguru;Unyika; Usaramo. Mozambique: Amatongas. Nyasaland.Southern Rhodesia: Birchenough Bridge.
Range. Kenya Colony ( near Malindi ) south through Tanganyika, Mozambique, and Nyassaland to Southern Rhodesia ( where it meets with C.c.jonesi and C.c.rhodesianus )
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