n African Journal of Herpetology - Revised phylogeny of African sand lizards (), with the description of two new species from south-western Angola

Volume 61, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2156-4574
  • E-ISSN: 2153-3660
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Although reptile diversity in Africa is high, it is poorly represented in Angola, with just 257 species known. Despite its greater surface area and habitat diversity Angola has significantly lower lacertid lizard diversity than adjacent Namibia. This is particularly notable in African sand lizards (), where 10 species (two endemic) are known from Namibia but only two are recorded from adjacent Angola. was described from Angola, but its taxonomic status is problematic and it was previously synonymised with . All other Angolan were referred to Namibian , although this taxon is now known to comprise a complex of at least five different species and the relationship of Angolan material to this complex has not been assessed. In this study, we investigated the phylogenetic placement of Angolan using two mitochondrial (ND2 and 16S) and one nuclear (RAG-1) markers. A Bayesian analysis was conducted on 21 samples from Angola, combined with existing data for 45 individuals from GenBank and three additional samples from central Namibia. The phylogeny demonstrates that is a valid species and that it is not the sister taxon to with which it has been morphologically confused. In addition, Angolan lacertids previously referred to are not conspecific with any of the Namibian or South African species in that complex. Rather, there is strong support for the presence in Angola of additional species of , which form a well-supported sister clade to the complex () of Namibia and two of which are described herein. These discoveries highlight the need for further biodiversity surveys in Angola, as similar increases in species diversity in other Angolan taxa might be found given sufficient investment in biodiversity surveys.

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