Congolacerta asukului GREENBAUM, VILLANUEVA, KUSAMBA, ARISTOTE & BRANCH, 2011
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|Higher Taxa||Lacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||E: ASUKULU’S GRASS LIZARD|
|Synonym||Congolacerta asukului GREENBAUM, VILLANUEVA, KUSAMBA, ARISTOTE & BRANCH 2011|
|Distribution||Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire, South Kivu)|
Type locality: footpath south of Rurambo village, Itombwe Plateau, South Kivu Province (SKP), DRC (2°59′39′′S, 28°52′34′′E, 2876 m elevation.
|Reproduction||oviparous (phylogenetic imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022)|
|Types||Holotype: UTEP 20263 (field no. EBG 2025, Figs 3A, B, 4), an adult male.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: Congolacerta asukului can be distinguished from all other species in the Equatorial African group of lacertids by the following combination of characters: (1) medium body size (SVL 53.7– 58.3 for adult males; 51.9 in one adult female); (2) dorsum brown, rusty brown or tan with several dark brown to black blotches forming a vertebral line from occipital to first quarter of tail, and a dark brown line with cream or greyish white blotches extending from lateral side of rostral through eye and flanks to lateral side of tail; (3) moderate numbers of femoral pores (11–16); (4) low numbers of supraciliary granules (three to four); (5) moderate numbers of dorsal scale rows at midbody (28–33); (6) moderate numbers of dorsal scales in a longitudinal row from occipital to posterior insertion of hind limb (73–85); (7) high numbers of ventral scales from collar to preanal (24–28); (8) high numbers of caudal scale rows at 15th scale (21–25); (9) smooth dorsal scales; and (10) yellow ventral coloration with black or brown blotches [from GREENBAUM et al. 2011].|
|Etymology||The new species is named in honour of Itombwe native Asukulu M’Mema, an aspiring zoologist and conservationist who was our colleague and guide through the Itombwe Plateau in 2008 and 2009, when all the known specimens of C. asukului were collected. Asukulu was killed during his investigation into the killing of a gorilla on 22 August 2009 in Mulombozi village (on the route between Miki and Mwenga) in the western slopes of the Itombwe Plateau. For his service to conservation in Africa, he was posthumously honoured with the Medail de Bravoure from the Alexander Abraham Foundation in 2010 [from GREENBAUM et al. 2011].|
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