Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 11th, 2012
African Journal of Herpetology (Eli Greenbaum. Volume 61, Issue 1) announces the discovery of a new species of Cordylus (Squamata: Cordylidae) from the Marungu Plateau of southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
An international collaboration of scientists has announced the discovery of a new species of lizard from remote, war-torn mountains in Central Africa. The new species, Cordylus marunguensis, is described from the Marungu Plateau, a montane area west of Lake Tanganyika in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The expedition that led to the new species discovery in 2010 was led by Eli Greenbaum, assistant professor of evolutionary genetics at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Chifundera Kusamba, a research scientist from the Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles in Congo. The team spent several weeks exploring the area around the plateau for new species of amphibians and reptiles. The new lizard was discovered near the village of Pepa under rocks in grassy fields
that were riddled with landmines and unexploded ordnance left over from a heavy conflict that engulfed the region at the turn of the 21st century.
Suspecting the lizard represented a new species, Greenbaum sent DNA
samples to Edward Stanley, a student at the American Museum of
Natural History’s Richard Gilder Graduate School in New York City, according to a report from the Alpha Galileo Foundation.
Stanley confirmed the presence of tiny bones called osteoderms in the heavily armored scales of the new species. The reinforced scales are thought to protect the lizards from attacks by predators.
“Although the Marungu Plateau has been heavily damaged by warfare and habitat destruction, the new lizard proves that it is not too late to implement conservation efforts,” said Greenbaum, who has published an impressive list of papers noting his discovery of new species, see here.
To access his new paper on this lizard for free, click here.