Corresponding author: William R. Branch ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Academic editor: Johannes Penner
© 2017 William R. Branch, Wulf Haacke, Pedro Vaz Pinto, Werner Conradie, Ninda Baptista, Luke Verburgt, Luis Verisimmo.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Citation: Branch WR, Haacke W, Vaz Pinto P, Conradie W, Baptista N, Verburgt L, Verisimmo L (2017) Loveridge’s Angolan geckos, Afroedura karroica bogerti and Pachydactylus scutatus angolensis (Sauria, Gekkonidae): new distribution records, comments on type localities and taxonomic status. Zoosystematics and Evolution 93(1): 157-166. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.93.10915
In 1944 Loveridge described two new geckos from Angola Afroedura karroica bogerti and Pachydactylus scutatus angolensis. The descriptions of both species have vague and confusing type localities and refinements are suggested based on early expedition reports historical accounts from the region and a review of cartographic material. Numerous new distribution records are reported for both species from expeditions undertaken from 1956–2016 by the authors or their colleagues. The taxonomic status of both species has changed but new material from diverse habitats altitudes and geological substrates indicates that further taxonomic adjustments are likely in order to reflect additional cryptic diversity.
Em 1944, Loveridge descreveu duas osgas novas de Angola: Afroedura karroica bogerti e Pachydactylus scutatus angolensis. As descrições de ambas as espécies têm localidades-tipo vagas e confusas. Neste trabalho são sugeridos mais detalhes relativos a estas espécies, com base em relatórios de expedições, relatos históricos da região e revisão de material cartográfico. São relatados numerosos registos novos de distribuição para estas espécies, com base em expedições levadas a cabo entre 1956 e 2016 pelos autores ou colegas seus. A situação taxonómica das duas espécies alterou-se, mas material novo proveniente de habitats, altitudes, e substratos geológicos diversos, indicam que é provável que ocorram mais ajustes taxonómicos de forma a refletir uma diversidade críptica ainda maior.
Reptilia, cryptic diversity, mombolo, William Chapman, Angola, type locality
Studies on the herpetofauna of Angola have entered a new phase following increased collaboration on regional and national biodiversity surveys, multi-authored modern taxonomic reviews, and the emergence of young Angolan scientists (
The Angolan Flat Gecko (Afroedura bogerti) is a beautiful and zoogeographically interesting species. For many years knowledge of the species was based on a single specimen collected during the Vernay Angola Expedition (VAE) in 1925. Charles Bogert, after whom the gecko is named, was the Curator of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), and prepared a detailed report on the snakes collected by the VAE (
In his description of Afroedura k. bogerti,
There is no detailed history or route for the VAE, but a brief summary of the expedition is given in the Mammals of Angola (
Messrs. Herbert Lang and Rudyerd Boulton, collectors, went to Angola in April, 1925, and remained there for about three months. Landing at Lobito, near Catumbela, a few animals were secured here. The expedition went to Hanha Estate (not the Hanha usually given on maps), an oil palm plantation near the coast, some thirty-two kilometers north of Lobito. The party then went south by way of Huambo where they were joined by Messrs. A. S. Vernay, Alan and Charles Chapman………… At the end of August the expedition united at Capelongo and returned by way of Caconda to Huambo…... At Huambo the party again divided…… Boulton and Charles Chapman went to Namba in the Mombolo region.
The geographical locations of sites detailed in
Many of these locations are discussed in the recently published ‘Reminiscences’ of William Chapman, the father of Charles, Harry and Alan Chapman (
Chapman notes “Ernst Meyer had selected a farm in the Mombolo country at the base of a mountain range called Namba” (
It was noted (
….. liked the company of scientific explorers and quite a number of them were invited to stay for some time on his farm. As a result the type specimens of quite a few species of fauna and flora were recorded at Sandula, Namba or Chipepe, the farms of the Chapman clan near Mombolo.
A thorough examination of official detailed cartographic material supported by the historical accounts, allowed us to identify the possible location of Chapman’s farm on topographic maps as “Fazenda Monte Verde”, located on the northeastern slopes of the Lupangue mountains, close to the headwaters of the Etala stream, which drains between rock outcrops from the mountain. We were able to confirm this following a site visit (5-6 November 2016), and from inspection of the original “Titulo de Concessão”, dated 28 January 1930 (Fig.
A: (left) Photograph of the original “Titulo de Concessao” (28 January 1930) confirming William Chapman’s ownership of the farm that was purchased by the Kath-Brock family. B: (right) the farm map from the “Titulo de Concessao” showing ‘Alengo Sandula’ at middle of lower boundary.
The ruins of farm Monte Verde, surrounded by eucalyptus trees (middle distance), overlay those of William Chapman’s farm Monte Victoria-Verdun. Viewed from an intrusive rock outcrop on the lower northern slopes of Sandula Hill.
The Lynes-Vincent bird expedition (1930–31) was a specialist trip for Cisticola species in Central and West Africa (
Although our studies and site visits give greater detail to the probable origin of the type specimen of A. k. bogerti, the exact location of its capture remains unknown, and cannot be determined with greater accuracy based on existing knowledge. We conclude that the vague type locality, i.e. “Namba (Mombolo)” refers to a general area that probably corresponds to a polygon that can be delimited by the points (detailed above) of William Chapman’s farm (Monte Victoria-Verdun, later Monte Verde), Chipepe/Quipepe, the farm of one of his sons, Missão da Namba, and Maka-Mombolo (Fig.
Geographical distribution of Afroedura bogerti. Insert (left) shows the polygon that encompasses the area from which the type specimen was collected. The problematic Namibian specimen is included.
New distribution records for Afroedura bogerti. Following its discovery in 1925 the next specimen of this species was collected by Dr C. Koch on a Transvaal Museum Expedition to southwest Angola in September 1956. Collected near Caraculo (15°01'36.7”S, 12°39'07.57”E), this specimen (TM 24545) was not mentioned by
Following a hiatus in field surveys to Angola during the protracted civil war (1975–2002), no additional material was added until international collaborative biodiversity surveys began in 2009. During the first of these (
Currently Angolan Afroedura bogerti is known from approximately 15 localities that appear to fall into disjunct populations occurring above and below the Great Escarpment, and in diverse habitats and on different geological substrates. Colouration and scalation varies between the known populations of A. bogerti (Fig.
In the same paper in which he described Afroedura k. bogerti, Loveridge also described the small terrestrial gecko Pachydactylus scutatus angolensis Loveridge, 1944.
Angolan localities referenced under the toponym “Hanha” may cause confusion. Two main places are of concern, and both are situated in Benguela Province: Hanha do Norte (also Hanha Estate) and Hanha do Cubal.
Pachydactylus angolensis remains poorly-known from Angola. Additional material (
Recent collections of geckos currently attributed to P. angolensis are grouped into coastal and inland populations (Fig.
Distribution of Pachydactylus angolensis and Pachydactylus scutatus in Angola. Stars = type localities. For additional Namibian localities for P. scutatus, see
We thank: Brian Huntley, João Serodio d’Almeida, and the Traguedo family for organising the SANBI/ISCED/UAN 2009 Angolan Biodiversity Assessment Capacity Building Project; and Steve Boyes and John Hilton of the Wild Bird Trust, administers of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project (National Geographic Society grant number EC0715–15) during which WRB, WC, NB, WRB, WC, NB and PVP participated in the biodiversity surveys of the headwaters of the Cuito and Cuanavale Rivers (2015–2016). Mr Werner Kath-Brock (Luanda) generously allowed us to inspect the original “Titulo de Concessão” (28 January 1930) transferring William Chapman’s farm to his grandparents.