Article

Review of the leaf-litter skinks (Scincidae: Panaspis) from the Gulf of Guinea Oceanic Islands, with the description of a new species

Published in: African Journal of Herpetology
Volume 67, issue 2, 2018 , pages: 132–159
DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2017.1413015
Author(s): Leonor B. SoaresDepartamento de Biologia, Portugal, Luis M. P. CeríacoDepartamento de Zoologia e Antropologia (Museu Bocage), Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Portugal, Mariana P. MarquesDepartamento de Zoologia e Antropologia (Museu Bocage), Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Portugal, Cristiane Bastos-SilveiraDepartamento de Zoologia e Antropologia (Museu Bocage), Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Portugal, Lauren A. ScheinbergCalifornia Academy of Sciences, USA, D. James HarrisCentro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO/UP), Portugal, António BrehmFaculdade de Ciências da Vida, Portugal, José JesusCentro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO/UP), Portugal

Abstract

Leaf-litter skinks of the genus Panaspis are currently represented in the oceanic islands of the Gulf of Guinea by two species, Panaspis africana and P. annobonensis. Here we describe a third species, Panaspis thomensis sp. nov., endemic to São Tomé Island. Data from previous studies and a new phylogenetic analysis using the mitochondrial 16S gene shows that the new species is genetically divergent and reciprocally monophyletic with respect to P. africana. Morphological data (scalation and morphometry) identify consistent, yet subtle, phenotypic differences between the two island populations. We also confirm that P. annobonensis represents a valid species, sister to the species pair P. africana + P. thomensis sp. nov., based on both molecular and morphological evidence. This description raises the number of known Panaspis species in the Gulf of Guinea oceanic islands to three, with consequences for the interpretation of local endemicity.

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