Agama tassiliensis is a recently discovered species of insectivore lizard. A few specimens were already found in the mountain systems of Ahaggar, Tassili N'Ajjer, and Aïr. It is also likely to occur in other areas, namely the Termit Massif of Niger. This species holds special interest since it is the only Agama endemic to the Sahara. A. boueti is a widespread species of Agama. Although being mostly a sahelian species, historical climatic shifts allowed it to expand into the mountains during the past, and thus can be found in some of the areas occupied by A. tassiliensis, namely Aïr and Southern Tassili N'Ajjer.
The project proposes to achieve five main objectives using data collected during a field expedition to Niger: 1) Assess the distribution of Agama tassiliensis, using presence points collected in the field, and available in bibliography; 2) Habitat characterization, using habitat descriptors taken at observation sites; 3) derive a predictive model of occurrence combining presence data with climate, topography and vegetation cover. This will result in a map of predicted occurrence which will be useful for conservation purposes; 4) Conservation status assessment; and 5) Delineation of borders between Agama boueti and A. tassiliensis. These species seem to be sympatric in the southern distribution of A. tassiliensis and, since the species discovery is so recent, incorrect identifications in the bibliography are likely to occur. Delineation of distribution and habitat differences will need a solid identification of the species, which will be based on detailed observation and photographic documentation of specimens found.
Funding agency: Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
Budget: 3 750€
Project Code: 11052499
Principal investigator: DV Gonçalves