Pensoft Publishers, ZooKeys, (954), p. 109-156, 2020
Four new species of Pholidobolus lizards are described from poorly explored areas in the Andes of southern Ecuador based on morphological and genetic evidence. Among other morphological characters, Pholidobolus sameksp. nov. and P. condorsp. nov. differ from their congeners in having green dorsolateral stripes on head. Males of P. condorsp. nov. differ from those of P. sameksp. nov. in having reddish flanks and venter. P. dolichoderessp. nov. is distinguished by having a long neck, with more scales between orbit and tympanum, whereas P. fascinatussp. nov. is distinguished by lacking enlarged medial scales on collar and a conspicuous vertebral stripe. In addition, the phylogenetic position of the new species is inferred using DNA sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes. The phylogeny supports strongly monophyly of each of the new species and renders P. macbrydei paraphyletic and split into six subclades. Available data suggest that the new species have restricted distribution ranges (< 100 km2 each), and it is proposed that their classification be as Data Deficient or Critically Endangered species. The results reveal unexpected levels of diversity within Pholidobolus in the Andes of southern Ecuador and highlight the importance of improving scientific collections and conservation efforts in this area.