New species of Girdled Lizard from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Girdled Lizards (Cordylus) are small-to-medium-sized, rock-dwelling lizards widespread across Eastern, Southern and parts of Central Africa. They get their name from the enlarged spiny scales of their bodies and tails, which resembles a girdle or corset. This armor is backed up by a layer of osteoderms (boney plates) beneath the skin, and a tendency to hide in rock crevices. Girdled Lizards give birth to live young. There are about twenty species, many of which are threatened by habitat fragmentation.
In a paper
published in the African Journal of Herpetology
on 23 April 2012, a team of scientist led by Eli Greenbaum
of the Department of Biological Sciences
at the University of Texas at El Paso
, describe a new species of Girdled Lizard from the Marungu Plateau in Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The new species, named Cordylus marunguensis
(the Marungu Girdled Lizard) was identified from an analysis of DNA from a large number of specimens assigned to the species C. tropidosternum
(the Tropical Girdled Lizard) from museum and university collections in the United States and Belgium, as well as new specimens collected from the Marungu Plateau, and then shown to be morphologically distinct from other members of the genus.