A new genus and species of microteiid lizard is described based on a series of specimens obtained at Parque Nacional do Caparaó (20°28′S, 41°49′W), southeastern Brazil, along the division line between the States of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The new lizard occurs in isolated high-altitude, open, rocky habitats above the altitudinal limits of the Atlantic forest. It is characterized by the presence of prefrontals, frontoparietals, parietals, interparietal, and occipital scales; ear opening and eyelid distinct; three pairs of genials; absence of collar; lanceolate and mucronate dorsal scales; six regular transverse and longitudinal series of smooth ventrals that are longer than wide, with the lateral ones narrower. Maximum parsimony (MP) and partitioned Bayesian (PBA) phylogenetic analyses based on morphological and molecular characters with all known genera of Gymnophthalminae (except for Scriptosaura) plus Rhachisaurus recovered this new lizard in a clade having Colobodactylus and Heterodactylus as its closest relatives. Both analyses recovered the monophyly of Gymnophthalminae and Gymnophthalmini. The monophyly of the Heterodactylini received moderate support in MP analyses but was not recovered in PBA. To eliminate classification controversy between these results, the present concept of Heterodactylini is restricted to accommodate the new genus, Colobodactylus and Heterodactylus, and a new tribe Iphisiini is proposed to allocate Alexandresaurus, Iphisa, Colobosaura, Acratosaura, and Stenolepis. Current phylogenetic knowledge of Gymnophthalminae suggests that fossoriality and increase of body elongation arose as adaptive responses to avoid extreme surface temperatures, either cold or hot, depending on circumstances.
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Vol. 2009 • No. 3673