A new species of Diporiphora from the Goneaway Tablelands of Western Queensland

Patrick Couper, Jane Melville, Angus Emmott, Stephanie N.J. Chapple

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Australia's agamid genus Diporiphora is speciose and widespread, however, there remain significant taxonomic uncertainties within this group. Field collections across the range of Diporiphora continue to uncover undocumented morphological and ecological variation. A new morpho-type was collected from hard pebbly soils on Valetta Station, western Queensland, providing ample data for the description of a new species (Diporiphora ameliae sp. nov.). We undertook a morphological study, integrated with a comprehensive genetic study to provide the phylogenetic placement and distinctiveness of the new species. Although superficially similar to Diporiphora winneckei, the new species is characterised by well developed ventral body patterns consisting of four longitudinal grey stripes on a cream background and three distinctive dark V-shaped markings that converge anteriorly on the throat and gular area. Molecular data is presented incorporating a ∼1200 bp of the mtDNA protein-coding gene ND2 and five flanking tRNAs for 58 new sequences and 53 previously published sequences. Phylogenetic analyses of the molecular data strongly support the new species as an independent evolutionary lineage within Diporiphora. In addition, the molecular data also showed that there is far greater diversity in Diporiphora winneckei sensu lato than was anticipated. Our results clearly indicate that there are at least three independent evolutionary lineages of D. winneckei-like dragons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
Issue number3556
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Agamidae
  • Arid zone
  • Diporiphora ameliae sp. nov.
  • Molecular phylogenetics
  • Morphology
  • Systematics

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