Herpetology Notes, volume 6: 369-371 (2013) (published online on 23 August 2013)
Abnormality in the tail of the collated lizard
Tropidurus gr. torquatus (Iguania, Tropiduridae)
from Uberaba city, Minas Gerais State, Brazil
Rafael L. Martins1, Pedro G. Peixoto2, 3, Pedro H. M. Fonseca2, Agustín G. Martinelli2, 4*, Wagner R. Silva1
and Afonso Pelli3
Tropidurus Wied, 1824 is an iguanian lizard widely
distributed in cis-Andean South America (Rodrigues,
1987). This genus has at least 25 species currently
accepted, although the taxonomy of some species (in
special, in the Tropidurus of group torquatus) is still
controversial (Rodrigues, 1987; Frost, 1992; Frost
et al., 2001; Uetz, 2013). The species of Tropidurus
of group torquatus are characterized by a generalist
and opportunist diet, and typically occur in open
areas, coastal salt marshes and some offshore islands,
especially when rocky substrates are present (e.g.
Rodrigues, 1987; Frost, 1992; Frost et al., 2001).
Furthermore, some species in this group are frequently
recorded in urbanized environments (e.g. Kohlsdorf et
al., 2006).
Here, we report a single specimen of Tropidurus gr.
torquatus with an abnormal bifid tail. It consists of a
complete adult male (Fig. 1). It was found dead on an
urbanized street in September of 2012 in the Abadia
neighborhood, Uberaba City, Minas Gerais State,
1 Instituto de Ciências Exatas, Naturais e Educação (ICENE).
Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, Rua Getúlio
Guaritá, 159, Bairro Abadia, 38025-440 - Uberaba, Minas
Gerais, Brazil.
2 Centro de Pesquisas Paleontológicas L. I. Price, Complexo
Cultural e Científico Peirópolis (CCCP/UFTM), BR-262,
Km784, Bairro Peirópolis, 38039-755, Uberaba, Minas
Gerais, Brazil.
3 Disciplina de Ecologia & Evolução. Departamento de
Patologia, Genética e Evolução. Instituto de Ciências
Biológicas e Naturais (ICBN). Universidade Federal do
Triangulo Mineiro. Av. Frei Paulino, 30. Bairro Abadia.
Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
4 Departamento de Paleontologia e Estratigrafia, Instituto de
Geociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul,
Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9500 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
*Corresponding Author: [email protected]
Brazil (GPS: 19º45´34.9´´S/47º47´40.9´´W; WGS 84;
elevation 793m). Due to the tissue condition and the
absence of ants or other invertebrates, this specimen
would have died a few hours before it was collected.
There were no external injuries; therefore, the cause of
the dead remains unknown. The specimen is housed at
the Zoological Collection (Zo) of the Complexo Cultural
e Científico de Peirópolis (CCCP) of the Universidade
Federal do Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba, Minas
Gerais (Brazil) under the collection number CCCP-Zo
The snout-vent length is 111.70mm and the vent-main
tail length is 118.23mm. The anomalous tail is observed
clearly, possessing two distinctive branches at the
rear (Fig. 1). In dorsal view, the left branch measures
11.24mm and constitutes the main, original tail, slightly
bent to the left side possibly indicating an injury at this
point. This branch is slightly wider than the right one
and it is continuous with the main edges of the tail.
On the other hand, the right branch is antero-posterior
longer, measuring 19.19mm, and slender. It diverges
from the main tail at an angle of approximately 50°. The
right branch likely constitutes the secondary, abnormal
tip of the tail. X-ray and tomography of the specimen
show that both branches have rigid internal tissues, but
we could not assess if the abnormal branch is formed by
discrete vertebrae or cartilage. At hand, the left branch
is more rigid than the pathological one. The former has
discrete, although small, vertebrae.
Apparently, a bifid tail was hitherto not formally
reported in Tropidurus. Nonetheless, bifurcated tails
have been reported in the literature for several group
of lizards, such as Agamidae (Brindley, 1898; Chandra
and Mukherjee, 1980; Anajeva and Danov, 1991),
Scincidae, Lacertidae, Iguanidae (Brindley, 1898),
Gekkonidae (Woodland, 1920; Chan et al., 1984) and
Teiidae (Gogliath et al., 2012). Several studies have
demonstrated that the presence of bifid or polyfid
Rafael L. Martins et al.
Figure 1. Abnormal tail in Tropidurus gr. torquatus (Tropiduridae) from Uberaba city, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Complete
specimen CCCP-Zo 0015 (A), tomography (B), a detail of the end of the tail (C) in dorsal and ventral views. Scale = 10 mm.
tails is frequently developed during the regeneration
process that follows autotomy. This process has been
widely described in various groups of lizards, such as
Gekkonidae, Pygodidae, Scincidae, Lacertidae, Teiidae,
Anguidae, Cordylidae, Xantusiidae, Dibamidae,
Iguanidae, Chamaeleonidae, Agamidae, Varanidae,
Lanthanotidae, Helodermatidae (Anajeva and Danov,
1991), including Tropiduridae (Sluys et al., 2002;
Galdino et al., 2006).
Due to the lack of a total breakdown of the main row,
the injured point allowed the generation of an additional
tip (Chan et al., 1984; Gogliath et al., 2012). As such,
we likely discard that the anomaly described here
was caused by purely genetic or environmental (e.g.
pollution, pesticides, etc.) factors. The injury apparently
did not affect the mode of life of this individual.
Acknowledgements. We thank the financial support for this
research provided by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do
Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), the Conselho Nacional
de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), and the
Fundação de Ensino e Pesquisa de Uberaba (FUNEPU). Specially
thank are to V.P.A. Teixeira (CCCP/UFTM) and M.L.F. Ferraz
(CCCP/UFTM) for their help during the development of this
work, and to E. Felix (UFTM) and R. Goubart (UFTM) for X-ray
and tomography assistance. M.T. Rodrigues (IB/USP) and M.A.
De Sena (IB/USP) provided successful comments that improved
the manuscript.
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Accepted by Philip de Pous

Abnormality in the tail of the collated lizard Tropidurus gr. torquatus