On the Psammophis sibilans group (Serpentes, Lamprophiidae, Psammophiinae) north of 12°S with description of a new species from W Africa
Based on molecular, morphological and field data, the status and zoogeography of the taxa of the Psammophis sibilans group north of 12°S are reviewed. Molecular data including sequences from 20 of the 22 described species known to occur north of 12°S suggest that P. sibilans distribution is restricted to northeastern Africa, from Egypt to Ethiopia. Populations from West Africa are described as a new species, P. afroccidentalis sp. nov., and those from Chad, Cameroon and Central African Republic are assigned to P. rukwae which is also distributed from Tanzania to Ethiopia. Molecular data indicate the occurrence within this complex of three additional cryptic species in the Horn of Africa. Populations previously assigned to P. phillipsi in Central Africa north, south and east of the Congo forest block are assigned to P. mossambicus and the status of P. occidentalis is discussed. P. phillipsi is restricted to West Africa, with P. irregularis as junior synonym.