Cryptic Lineages of Nigerian Agama (Squamata: Agamidae) within the West African Radiation

Lotanna M. Nneji, Adeniyi C. Adeola, Fang Yan, Agboola O. Okeyoyin, Ojo C. Oladipo, Temidayo E. Olagunju, Olatunde Omotoso, Segun O. Oladipo, Oluyinka A. Iyiola, Timothy Auta, Abbas D. Usman, Halima Abdullahi, Min-Sheng Peng, Jie-Qiong Jin, Robert W. Murphy, Adiaha Alda A. Ugwumba, Jing Che


The genus Agama is diverse and found commonly in Africa. The dearth of herpetological studies in Nigeria has limited knowledge on the genetic diversity and distribution of Agama and the matrilineal affinities within the West African (WA) radiation. This limits an understanding of the biogeography of West Africa. Thus, we collected 112 specimens of Agama across Nigeria. Analyses of mitochondrial DNA (16S rRNA sequences) infer the matrilineal relationships of all the currently recognized Nigerian species of Agama within the WA radiation. The result of our genealogical analysis adds a new matrilineal lineage from north-eastern Nigeria to the WA radiation. Further, our result shows that Nigerian Agama has closest relationship with Cameroon and Niger. This indicates that the Guinean forest may be a biogeographic corridor for dispersal and diversification. Our collections from Nigeria also first document the presence of A. parafricana from the montane savannah region of Gashaka Gumti National Park, eastern Nigeria. Accordingly, we describe its external features.


Reptilia; Nigeria; Agama parafricana; West African radiation; Mitochondrial DNA; morphology; conservation; lizard; Agama

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