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AMEY, A.P., COUPER, P.J. & SHEA, G.M. (2012)

Intellagama lesueurii (Gray, 1831), the correct binomial combination for the Australian Eastern Water Dragon (Sauria, Agamidae).

Zootaxa 3390: 65–67. ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition), ISSN 1175-5334 (online edition)

The Eastern Water Dragon is a large, conspicuous agamid, well known to many inhabitants of eastern Australia. It was first described in the scientific literature as Lophura lesueurii by Gray (1831). Gray’s allocation of this taxon to his earlier genus Lophura Gray, 1827, created for the species Lacerta lophura Shaw, 1802, does not mention that Cuvier (1829) had erected Istiurus for amboinensis Schlosser, 1768, which Cuvier treated as a senior synonym of Lophura.

Cuvier considered the generic name Lophura to be too similar to Lophyrus Latreille, 1802, a genus of conifer sawflies belonging to the family Diprionidae, hence the need for a new genus. Both Gray and Cuvier were evidently unaware that Lophura was unavailable as this name had already been assign ed to a genus of phasianid birds (Fleming 1822). The Eastern Water Dragon has subsequently appeared in the taxonomic literature under the following synonyms: Iguana paramatensis Fitzinger, 1843; Amphibolurus maculiferus Girard, 1857; Amphibolurus heterurus Peters, 1866 and Amphibolurus branchialis De Vis, 1884. The combination Physignathus lesueurii was first used in 1845 by Gray in his Catalogue of the Specimens of Lizards in the British Museum and has been in use ever since. The only other generic name proposed for this taxon is Intellagama Wells and Wellington, 1985, by which the authors implied its distinctiveness from the other member of Physignathus,  the Chinese Water Dragon P. cocincinus Cuvier, 1829. However, as their description provided no evidence to demons trate that Australian water dragons are generically distinct from their foreign congener, this name has not been adopted by subsequent authors, and has been informally treated as a synonym of Physignathus. ....

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