The common, terrestrial teiid lizards of the Ameiva ameiva complex have a broad Neotropical distribution from Costa Rica and Panama to Paraguay and northern Argentina. These lizards have also been reported from the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad, Tobago, Providencia, and the Swan Islands. The group has a complicated taxonomic history and has not been comprehensively reviewed. With the use of external morphology, we reviewed this complex in Venezuela. We conclude that A. ameiva (sensu lato) in Venezuela comprises at least four evolutionary species and recommend elevating A. ameiva (sensu stricto), A. atrigularis, and A. praesignis to species. On the other hand, we synonymize A. ameiva fischeri, A. a. ornata, and A. a. vogli, with A. praesignis; we synonymize A. a. laeta and A. a. petersii with A. ameiva; and we synonymize A. a. melanocephala with A. atrigularis. We designate a lectotype of A. atrigularis. Populations from savannahs of southern Monagas represent a new species described in this work. Both A. ameiva and A. praesignis exist as apparently viable breeding populations in southern Florida, USA.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1