Ethiopia is known for its highly endemic and rich herpetofaunal diversity shaped by its biogeographical patterns. Here, a new species of skinks, Trachylepis boehmei sp. nov., is described from the Ethiopian Highlands.
The huge herpetological collection of the Museum Koenig includes several specimens of skinks, which were already collected almost 50 years ago in the high altitudes west of the African Rift Valley. Based on these individuals a new species of skink with the scientific name Trachylepis boehmei has now been described in the magazine Zootaxa. The name of the species, which was not chosen by chance, honors the senior herpetologist of the ZFMK, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Böhme, for his comprehensive and outstanding herpetological passion and research now and then.
The new species differs from its congeners in having smooth uncarinated dorsal scales, 26–29 scale rows around midbody, a slender body of small size, a relatively short tail, a low eye–snout distance and a unique colour pattern with 6–8 darkish brown dorsal stripes. Based on morphological characteristics, its biogeographical pattern and comparisons with other similar congeners this new species is closely related to Trachylepis megalura. A published new record of Trachylepis wingati for the Kafa region is re-examined and identified as T. megalura. An updated comprehensive key to the Trachylepis found in Ethiopia is provided. In the context of ongoing phylogenetic and taxonomic revisions of Trachylepis and its species complexes the presence of further cryptic taxa can be expected also for the Ethiopian biodiversity hotspots. Consequently, the need of further herpetological investigations in this region of ecological importance is stressed.
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