Wednesday, June 21, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Integrative Taxonomy of the Central African Forest Chameleon, Kinyongia adolfifriderici (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae), Reveals Underestimated Species Diversity in the Albertine Rift

Kinyongia itombwensis, Kinyongia tolleyae,
Kinyongia rugegensis 
Hughes, Kusamba, Behangana & Greenbaum, 2017

The Albertine Rift (AR) is a centre for vertebrate endemism in Central Africa, yet the mechanisms underlying lineage diversification of the region’s fauna remain unresolved. We generated a multilocus molecular phylogeny consisting of two mitochondrial (16S and ND2) and one nuclear (RAG1) gene to reconstruct relationships and examine spatiotemporal diversification patterns in the AR endemic forest chameleon, Kinyongia adolfifriderici (Sternfeld, 1912). This widely distributed species was revealed to be a complex of four genetically distinct and geographically isolated species. Three new species are described based on molecular analyses and morphological examinations. We find that Kinyongia rugegensis sp. nov. (Rugege Highlands) and Kinyongia tolleyae sp. nov. (Kigezi Highlands) form a well-supported clade, which is sister to K. gyrolepis (Lendu Plateau). Kinyongia itombwensis sp. nov. (Itombwe Plateau) was recovered as sister to K. adolfifriderici (Ituri Rainforest). The phylogeographic patterns we recovered for Kinyongia suggest that speciation stemmed from isolation in forest refugia. Our estimated diversification dates in the Miocene indicate that most species of Kinyongia diverged prior to the aridification of Africa following climate fluctuations during the Pleistocene. Our results highlight the AR as a focal point of diversification for Kinyongia, further elevating the global conservation importance of this region.

Keywords: biodiversity, biogeography, Burundi, conservation, Democratic Republic of the Congo, diversification, molecular systematics, new species, phylogeography, Uganda.

Kinyongia tolleyae sp. nov. in life. Adult male lateral view (UTEP 21488);  

Kinyongia itombwensis sp. nov. in life. (A) Adult female lateral view (UTEP 20371)

Kinyongia rugegensis sp. nov. in life.  Adult female (gravid) lateral view of holotype (UTEP 21485)


Daniel F. Hughes, Chifundera Kusamba, Mathias Behangana and Eli Greenbaum. 2017. Integrative Taxonomy of the Central African forest chameleon, Kinyongia adolfifriderici (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae), Reveals Underestimated Species Diversity in the Albertine Rift. Zool J Linn Soc. zlx005. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx005

Team discovers 3 chameleon species   @physorg_com


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