Have you seen a snake in your garden recently? We are fortunate to have about 120 species of snakes in South Africa. As part of a citizen science initiative, the National Museum’s Animal and Plant Systematics Department – Herpetology Division is managing a Facebook group called Free State Reptiles and Amphibians (including adjacent areas and Lesotho) which seeks to gather photographic and videographic records of all reptiles and amphibians found in this region.
As part of an investigation into the relationships of the crag lizards (genus Pseudocordylus), Dr Michael Bates and Mr Edgar Mohapi of the Department of Animal and Plant Systematics conducted several collecting expeditions in South Africa. Tissue samples from the specimens were used in genetic analyses to gain insight into the evolutionary relationships between the different populations. Several years later I was asked to assist with this project by expanding on the genetic analysis.