Sirenoscincus mobydick | Moby Dick ‘mermaid skink’ • Variations on a bauplan: description of a new Malagasy “mermaid skink” with flipper-like forelimbs only (Squamata: Scincidae) from Northwest Madagascar 
The “forelimbs only” bauplan, characterised by the combined presence of well-developed fingered forelimbs and the complete absence of hindlimbs, is rare among terrestrial tetrapods. It is restricted to three lineages of squamates with elongated worm-like bodies, the amphisbaenian genus Bipes Lacépède, 1788 and the scincid genera Sirenoscincus Sakata & Hikida, 2003 and Jarujinia Chan-ard, Makchai & Cota, 2011.
In the present study, we describe a new species of Sirenoscincus from Marosely, Port Bergé region, northwest Madagascar, which presents a remarkable variation of this bauplan. The forelimbs of S. mobydick n. sp. differ from S. yamagishii Sakata & Hikida, 2003 – the only other known species in the genus – by the complete absence of any fingers or claws, therefore superficially resembling flippers, a combination of characters unique among terrestrial tetrapods…
(read more: Nova Taxa - Species New to Science)
Miralles A., Anjeriniaina M., Hipsley C. A., Müller J., Glaw F. & Vences M. 2012. Zoosystema. 34 (4): 701-719. http://dx.doi.org/10.5252/z2012n4a3