The research of reptiles in North Africa and West Asia

An important task of Natural History Museums is the identification of our biodiversity. The SNHM in Brunswick is specialized in reptiles from Europe, North Africa, and West Asia.

Over the last years, these species or subspecies were discovered and described:

  • a new pond turtle from Sicily (2005)
  • new geckos from Tunisia and Libya (2010 and 2013)
  • three new geckos from South-West Arabia (2016)
  • a new viper from Iran (2018)
  • four new geckos from Morocco (2019)

Other new species, whose existence has been proven very likely because of molecular genetic differences, still have to be described.

Equally important are the reconstructions of the evolutionary tree of various snake and lizard species. This research is used to determine the degree to which species are related, which stem lineage they developed from and how they entered their current habitat.

Sometimes surprising discoveries are made. The research of vipers from the Caucasus region revealed that several species didn’t have distinct genomes but developed through the bastardization of two different species.

Students who are working on their master’s or doctoral thesis often contribute to these projects; this includes scholarship holders from Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Morocco, Libya, Yemen, and Iran.