Published November 7, 2023. Updated November 23, 2023. Open access. Peer-reviewed.

Gallery ❯

Bruno’s Glossy Lizard (Iphisa brunopereira)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Gymnophthalmidae | Iphisa brunopereira

English common name: Bruno’s Glossy Lizard.

Spanish common name: Lagartija lustrosa de Bruno.

Recognition: ♂♂ 15.1 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=5.8 cm. ♀♀ 14.6 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=5.3 cm..1,2 Iphisa brunopereira stands out distinctly from all other lizards found in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. It is characterized by its shiny smooth dorsal scales, which are arranged in two longitudinal rows both dorsally and ventrally.13 The top of the dorsum is brown with a bronze sheen, conspicuously separated from the blackish flanks by a thin cream dorsolateral stripe (Fig. 1).4 Unlike other lizards with smooth scales (like Copeoglossum nigropunctatum), the dorsal scales of I. brunopereira are arranged in two rows.4

Figure showing an individual of Iphisa brunopereira

Figure 1: Young individual of Iphisa brunopereira from Gareno, Napo province, Ecuador.

Natural history: Iphisa brunopereira is a rarely encountered lizard that inhabits old growth terra-firme forests, swamp forests, and forest-edge situations.16 The species seems to be more abundant along bodies of water such as streams and lagoons.3,6,7 These semi-fossorial lizards are adapted to living in thick accumulations of leaf-litter,1,7 becoming active when filtered sunlight reaches the forest floor.4 At ambient temperatures around 27°C,5 individuals may be observed slowly foraging through the top layer of leaves, exposing themselves occasionally.3 They have also been found under logs or hidden amidst leaf-litter at night.1,7 The diet in this species includes spiders and roaches.1,4 In the presence of a disturbance, these shy reptiles quickly disappear into the leaf-litter.4 They are also quick to shed their fragile tail as a distraction to predators.4 There are records of snakes (Oxyrhopus vanidicus) preying upon individuals of I. brunopereira.1 Gravid females containing 2–6 oviductal eggs have been found in Ecuador1 and Peru,3 but the real clutch size is not known.

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Conservation: Least Concern Believed to be safe from extinction given current circumstances.. Iphisa brunopereira is a recently described species; therefore, its conservation status has not yet been formally evaluated by the IUCN. Here, it is proposed to be included in the Least Concern category mainly on the basis of the species’ wide distribution, presence in protected areas, and presumed large and stable populations. The comparatively low number of records of I. brunopereira throughout its range seems to be due to the species’ semi-fossorial habits rather than to actual low population densities.

Distribution: Iphisa brunopereira is native to the western Amazon basin in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador (Fig. 2), and Peru.

Distribution of Iphisa brunopereira in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Iphisa brunopereira in Ecuador. See Appendix 1 for a complete list of the presence localities included in the map.

Etymology: The generic name Iphisa probably refers to Iphis. In Greek Mythology, Iphis was brought up by her mother as a male, concealing her actual gender from her father, who warned that if the child was female, she would have to be put to death.8 At the time of description, the sex of the Iphisa specimen available to John Edward Gray was unknown to him.9 The specific epithet brunopereira honors Bruno Pereira (1980–2022), protector of indigenous communities in western Brazil, who was brutally murdered on 5 June 2022.2

See it in the wild: Due to their semi-fossorial habits, Bruno’s Glossy Lizards are unlikely to be seen by most visitors to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. Although these shy reptiles may occasionally be seen crawling at surface level, they are most easily found by actively raking the leaf-litter or by turning over logs along primary rainforest trails. In Ecuador, the area having the greatest number of Iphisa brunopereira observations is Santa Cecilia.

Author: Alejandro ArteagaaAffiliation: Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador.

Academic reviewer: Jeffrey D CamperbAffiliation: Department of Biology, Francis Marion University, Florence, USA.

Photographer: Sebastián Di Doménico,cAffiliation: Keeping Nature, Bogotá, Colombia.

How to cite? Arteaga A (2023) Bruno’s Glossy Lizard (Iphisa brunopereira). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/WYUT4083

Literature cited:

  1. Duellman WE (1978) The biology of an equatorial herpetofauna in Amazonian Ecuador. Publications of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 65: 1–352.
  2. Albano de Mello AV, Recoder RS, Fouquet A, Rodrigues MT, Sales Nunes PM (2023) Integrative taxonomy of the Iphisa elegans Gray, 1851 species complex (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) leads to the description of five new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 10: 1–28. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlad073
  3. Dixon JR (1974) Systematic review of the Microteiid genus Iphisa. Herpetologica 30: 133–139.
  4. Vitt LJ, De la Torre S (1996) A research guide to the lizards of Cuyabeno. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, 165 pp.
  5. Fitch HS (1968) Temperature and behavior of some equatorial lizards. Herpetologica 24: 35–38.
  6. Dixon JR, Soini P (1986) The reptiles of the upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos region, Peru. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, 154 pp.
  7. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  8. Traub V, Badir P, McCracken P (2020) Ovidian transversions: Iphis and Ianthe. Edinburgh University Press, 344 pp.
  9. Gray JE (1851) Description of a new genus and family of cyclosaurian lizards from Para. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 19: 38–39.

Appendix 1: Locality data used to create the distribution map of Iphisa brunopereira in Ecuador (Fig. 2). Go to the section on symbols and abbreviations for a list of acronyms used.

ColombiaAmazonasRío CaiwimaMCZ 154524; VertNet
ColombiaPutumayoPuerto BoyDixon 1974
ColombiaPutumayoPuerto Ospina, environs ofFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
ColombiaPutumayoRío YariFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
EcuadorMorona SantiagoLaberintos de ChiguazaPeters 1959
EcuadorMorona SantiagoShuin MamusiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorNapoGarenoThis work; Fig. 1
EcuadorOrellanaEdéniNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorOrellanaKawymenoiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorOrellanaReserva Río BigalGarcía et al. 2021
EcuadorOrellanaRío DicaroTorres-Carvajal et al. 2019
EcuadorOrellanaSan José de PayaminoMaynard et al. 2016
EcuadorPastazaArmadillo BiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaEstación Científica Juri JuriiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaPindoyacuOrtega-Andrade 2010
EcuadorPastazaRamponNunes et al. 2012
EcuadorPastazaRío Arajuno, headwaters ofUSNM 196109; VertNet
EcuadorPastazaRío CurarayMello et al. 2023
EcuadorPastazaRío VillanoUSNM 163437; VertNet
EcuadorPastazaSarayacuDixon 1974
EcuadorPastazaVillano BTorres-Carvajal et al. 2019
EcuadorSucumbíosDurenoYánez-Muñoz & Chimbo 2007
EcuadorSucumbíosEstación PUCE CuyabenoVitt & de la Torre 1996
EcuadorSucumbíosGarzacochaYánez-Muñoz & Venegas 2008
EcuadorSucumbíosGüeppicilloYánez-Muñoz & Venegas 2008
EcuadorSucumbíosLa Selva LodgeTorres-Carvajal et al. 2019
EcuadorSucumbíosLago AgrioDuellman 1978
EcuadorSucumbíosLimoncocha Biological ReserveDixon 1974
EcuadorSucumbíosPlayas del CuyabenoMello et al. 2023
EcuadorSucumbíosPuerto LibreDuellman 1978
EcuadorSucumbíosPuerto RodríguezFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
EcuadorSucumbíosRío GüeppiYanez-Muñoz et al. 2017
EcuadorSucumbíosSani LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorSucumbíosSanta Cecilia Duellman 1978
EcuadorZamora ChinchipeChipuaDixon 1974
PeruAmazonasAguaruna VillageMVZ 163082; VertNet
PeruAmazonasBoca del Río CenepaDixon 1974
PeruAmazonasQuebrada WeeFMNH 2012
PeruLoretoAndoasFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
PeruLoretoBretañaFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
PeruLoretoCentro UniónDixon 1974
PeruLoretoMishanaDixon 1974
PeruLoretoMoroponDixon 1974
PeruLoretoPlatanoyacuFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
PeruLoretoQuebrada YanayacuDixon 1974
PeruLoretoReserva Nacional Pacaya SamiriaFig. 2 in Mello et al. 2023
PeruLoretoRío AmpiyacuDixon 1974