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Varanus bennetti WEIJOLA, VAHTERA, KOCH, SCHMITZ & KRAUS, 2020

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Bennett’s long-tailed monitor 
SynonymVaranus bennetti WEIJOLA, VAHTERA, KOCH, SCHMITZ & KRAUS 2020
Varanus cf. indicus — CROMBIE & PREGILL 1999
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) bennetti — WEIJOLA & KRAUS 2023 
DistributionPalau archipelago (Koror, Ngeaur and Ngcheangel islands, Ngeriungs and Babeldaob), Federated States of Micronesia (FSM: Yap and Losiep islands), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI: Sarigan Island)

Type locality: south of Ngaramasch village, Ngeaur Island, Palau  
TypesHolotype: USNM 507504, collected by Ronald Crombie, 31 July 1996.
Paratypes: USNM 514125, 521719, Ngeaur Island, Palau. USNM 495369–70, Palau. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Sarigan Island (USNM 212494); Federated States of Micronesia: Losiep Island (USNM 122560), Yap Island (AMNH 00624–25, BMNH, SMF 32808–09, USNM 130186, ZMB 17520–22, 7619 and ZMH R-4727); Palau: Koror Island (AMNH 70652–53), Ngcheangel Atoll (USNM 495369). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Varanus bennetti can be distinguished from all other members of Euprepiosaurus by its unique combination of (i) dorsum black and evenly speckled with yellow scales, sometimes arranged in small groups of yellow scales, (ii) tongue dark blue/grey, (iii) venter cream coloured with pale grey cross-bands, (iv) tail exceptionally long (F/SVL mean = 1.76, range = 1.60–1.89), high XY scale counts (148–160), (v) a clear yellow temporal stripe present in about half of the studied specimens, and (vi), in life, peach colouring on the throat (Weijola et al. 2020). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Weijola & Kraus 2023: 948 (Fig. 1). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a genitive singular patronym in commemoration of the late Dr Daniel Bennett, 1966–2020, and his life-long commitment to the study and conservation of monitor lizards in Africa and Southeast Asia. For an obituary and other biographical notes on Daniel Bennett see Biawak 14 (1-2), Dec. 2020. 
  • Crombie, Ronald I. and Gregory K. Pregill 1999. A Checklist of the Herpetofauna of the Palau Islands (Republic of Belau), Oceania. Herpetological Monographs 13: 29-80 - get paper here
  • Koch, A. 2020. Neue Pazifikwarane aus Mikronesien erfordern politisches Umdenken. Elaphe 2020 (5): 54
  • Weijola V, Vahtera V, Koch A, Schmitz A, Kraus F. 2020. Taxonomy of Micronesian monitors (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanus): endemic status of new species argues for caution in pursuing eradication plans. R. Soc. Open Sci. 7: 200092 - get paper here
  • Weijola, Valter & Fred Kraus 2023. Two new species of monitor lizards (Squamata: Varanus) endemic to the Louisiade and Tanimbar Archipelagos with a key to the subgenus Euprepiosaurus. JOURNAL OF NATURAL HISTORY 57 (13–16): 947–975
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