Review of Teiid Morphology with a Revised Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Teiidae (Lepidosauria: Squamata)
Zootaxa 3459: 1–156
Despite advances within particular groups, systematics of the Teiidae has long been unsatisfactory, because few morphological characters have been described for this family. Consequently, most species have been assigned to the large, polyphyletic, and poorly defined genera Ameiva and Cnemidophorus. We describe 137 morphological characters and score them for most species of Neotropical Teiidae. Important, but previously undescribed, character suites include pupil shape; the frontal ridge; longitudinal division of the interparietal; the rostral groove; patterns of supraciliary fusion; the preauricular skin fold; the “toothy” first supralabial; modified apical granules; the pectoral sulcus; expansion of scales at the heel; tibiotarsal shields; scales between the digital lamellae along the postaxial edges of the toes; scale surface microstructure of macrohoneycomb, macroridges, or lamellae; distribution patterns and morphology of enticular scale organs; types of epidermal generation glands; and several hemipenial structures. We propose a new taxonomy of the Teiidae based on recovered evolutionary history and numerous morphological characters surveyed in this study. We recognize three subfamilies: Callopistinae new subfamily, Teiinae Estes et al., and Tupinambinae Estes et al. To resolve polyphyly of Ameiva and Cnemidophorus, we erect four new genera for various groups of Neotropical Teiidae: Ameivula new genus, Aurivela new genus, Contomastix new genus, and Medopheos new genus. We resurrect Holcosus Cope from the synonymy of Ameiva and Salvator Duméril and Bibron from the synonymy of Tupinambis. On the basis of shared derived characters, we propose new species groups of our redefined Ameiva and Cnemidophorus. We incorporate our new characters into a key to the genera and species groups of Teiidae. A phylogenetic hypothesis of Teiidae based on morphological characters differs substantially from hypotheses based on mitochondrial DNA. The phylogeny based on morphology is consistent with well-established biogeographic patterns of Neotropical vertebrates and explains extreme morphological divergence in such genera as Kentropyx and Aurivela.