African Agama Diversification

African lizards in the genus Agama are exceptionally diverse, and are among the most abundant and widespread terrestrial vertebrates in Africa.  This makes them an ideal group for testing biogeographic hypotheses and conducting comparative ecological and evolutionary studies.

Diversification and biogeography – The evolution of extreme sexual dimorphism in Agama, including extravagant adult male breeding coloration, large male body sizes relative to females, and variability in social systems, suggests that these traits may have had a profound impact on lineage diversification. This is one of the hypotheses that we tested with a comprehensive time-calibrated species tree with anchored phylogenomic data from 215 nuclear genes.

Bayesian phylogeography – The extensive distribution of the Agama agama species complex across sub-Saharan Africa makes this group particularly interesting from a phylogeographic perspective. We’re investigating the history of population divergence in this clade using Bayesian phylogeographic inference techniques.

Bayesian phylogeography of sub-Saharan Agama lizards.

Systematics and taxonomy – The diversity of Agama is currently underestimated, and we are collaborating with other herpetologists to describe new species of Agama. These systematic studies are important for establishing a solid taxonomy.

Leaché, A. D., Grummer, J. A., Miller, M., Krishnan, S., Fujita, M. K., Böhme, W., Schmitz, A., LeBreton, M., Ineich, I., Chirio, L., Ofori-Boateng, C., Eniang, E. A., Greenbaum, E., Rödel, M.-O., and P. Wagner. Bayesian inference of species diffusion in the West African Agama agama species group (Reptilia, Agamidae).
Systematics and Biodiversity, Accepted pending revision.

Leaché, A. D., Wagner, P., Linkem, C. W., Böhme, W., Papenfuss, T. J., Chong, R. A., Lavin, B. R., Bauer, A. M., Nielsen, S., Greenbaum, E., Rödel, M-O., Schmitz, A., LeBreton, M., Ineich, I., Chirio, L., Eniang, E. A., Baha El Din, S., Lemmon, A. R., and F. T. Burbrink. 2014. A hybrid phylogenetic-phylogenomic approach for species tree estimation in African Agama lizards with applications to biogeography, character evolution, and diversification.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 79:215-230. PDF

Leaché, A. D., Chong, R. A., Papenfuss, T. J., Wagner, P., Böhme, W., Schmitz, A., Rödel, M. O., LeBreton, M., Ineich, I., Chirio, L., Bauer, A., Eniang, E. A., and S. Baha El Din. 2009. Phylogeny of the genus Agama based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data.
Bonner zoologische Beiträge, 56:273-278PDF

Wagner, P., Leaché, A. D., Mazuch, T., and W. Böhme. 2013. Additions to the lizard diversity of the Horn of Africa: two new species in the Agama spinosa group.
Amphibia-Reptilia, 34:363-387. PDF

Wagner, P., Ineich, I., Leaché, A. D., Wilms, T., Trape, S., Mane, Y., Böhme, W., and A. Schmitz. 2009. Studies on African Agama VI. Taxonomic status of the West African Agama (Sauria: Agamidae) with prominent tail crests: Agama boulengeri Lataste 1886, Agama insularis Chabanaud, 1918 and Agama cristata Mocquard, 1905.
Bonner zoologische Beiträge,