New Chameleon Species from the Aberdare Mountains, Kenya

19 July 2012 | News story
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 A new species from the central highlands of Kenya is described but may be threatened by fires

 Surveys of the highlands of East Africa continue to reveal undescribed chameleon species diversity. Researchers recently surveyed the inaccessible Kinangop Peak (4000m) at the southern end of the Aberdare range, central highlands of Kenya. They compared the external morphology of small chameleons they found with other described taxa in the bitaeniatus group, which revealed them to be morphologically distinct. Mitochondrial DNA was used to construct gene trees and showed that the proposed new taxon, Trioceros kinangopensis sp. nov., is unique evolutionary lineage that is closely related to T. nyirit and T. schubotzi. Trioceros kinangopensis sp. nov. is restricted to the afroalpine zone (>3500m) and the prevalence of fires in this type of habitat may threaten its long-term survival.

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