The whiptail lizard Ameivula ocellifera (Spix, 1825) was described from “Bahia”, northeastern Brazil, by Spix in 1825. Its syntypes are considered lost, and the type locality is unknown. For many years, A. ocellifera was considered one of the most widespread whiptail lizard species in South America. Since 1997, several populations assigned to A. ocellifera have been described as new species. Considering that most species descriptions were solely based on morphological data, the lack of a type specimen and the doubt regarding the type locality have caused taxonomic uncertainties over the years. In addition, the systematics of Ameivula Harvey, Ugueto & Gutberlet, 2012 is in a state of flux, and the existence of candidate species currently assigned to A. ocellifera makes the designation of a neotype urgent. Here we review the taxonomic history of A. ocellifera, including the issues regarding its type locality. We describe a neotype based on morphometric and external morphological characters, providing a solid foundation for future taxonomic studies on the A. ocellifera species group.
Brazil, redescription, nomenclature, Tejus ocellifer, whiptail lizard, neotypification