Cisticola Tours Guide, Washington Wachira, discovers a lizard species, new to Science (Agama wachirai)
Cisticola Tours Guide, Washington Wachira, discovers a lizard species, new to Science (Marsabit Rock Agama Agama wachirai)
While co-leading a birding tour in Northern Kenya, Cisticola Tours Guide, Washington Wachira, noticed some unusual-looking lizard females. He was quite sure they belonged to the Agama genus, but had never seen females with the same pattern before.
He took some photos and shared with his colleague in the field, Brian Finch, but they could not figure out more. After the trip, Washington managed to send the images to reptile experts and immediately got feedback that the form had not yet been described to Science.
They thus agreed to make a dedicated search expedition, where they would return to the same site (near Marsabit, Northern Kenya) for better looks and to be able to assess some live specimens of the lizards. The trip was very successful and they managed to find enough individuals of this form; for better study and further lab analysis. The next stage of the study was done at the National Museums of Kenya, where the species was also compared to related species.
Eventually the species was confirmed as a new species to Science and a paper describing it written. The species name was given in honour of Washington Wachira’s dedication in conservation and especially his role in leading the Kenya Herpetofauna Working Group (a committee of the East Africa Natural History Society – Nature Kenya, which Washington chaired at the time). The new species was thus named: Marsabit Rock Agama (Agama wachirai).
To read more about this wonderful species discovery, kindly visit: https://www.biotaxa.org/Zootaxa/article/view/zootaxa.4920.4.5