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Varanus bitatawa WELTON, SILER, BENNETT, DIESMOS, RUYA, DUGAY, RICO, VAN WEERD & BROWN, 2010

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesSierra Madre forest monitor 
SynonymVaranus bitatawa WELTON, SILER, BENNETT, DIESMOS, RUYA, DUGAY, RICO, VAN WEERD & BROWN 2010
Varanus (Philippinosaurus) bitatawa — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Philippinosaurus) bitatawa — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionPhilippines (Luzon)

Type locality: San Ildefonso Peninsula, Sitio Casapsipan, Barangay Casiguran, Municipality of Casiguran, Aurora Province, Luzon Island, Philippines (16.286667° N, 122.185833° E, WGS-84; 1 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: PNM 9719 (formerly KU 320000; LJW field number 071), adult male, salvaged from hunter, 29 June 2009. Paratypes: KU 322188 (ACD 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Varanus bitatawa differs from congeners by the combination of (i) large, robust body (and related scalation differences: table 1), (ii) contrasting black and golden yellow dorsal coloration, (iii) dark gular coloration in juveniles, (iv) anteriorly directed, slit-like external nares, and (v) multiple characters of hemipeneal morphology (figure 2; electronic supplementary material). Additionally, the new species is distinguished from congeners by marked divergence in mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences and differs from its closest relative, V. olivaceus, by genetic divergence in excess of the divergence between other Asian species (figure 1 and table 2; electronic supplementary material, figure S2 and table S3). Detailed comparisons are provided in the electronic supplementar y material [from WELTON et al. 2010].
 
CommentDiet: this species appears to be vegetarian.

Photo in Elaphe 18 (2): 26 [2010]. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from bitatawa, the Agta tribespeoples’ common name for the new species. 
References
  • Abaño-Sarigumba, T; Brown, R M; Welton, L J & Ibañez, J C 2018. Records of the Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Varanus bitatawa from the Northern Cordillera Mountain Range of Luzon Island, Philippines Herpetological Review 49 (2): 208-209 - get paper here
  • Brown; Rafe; Cameron Siler, Carl Oliveros, Luke Welton, Ashley Rock, John Swab, Merlijn Van Weerd, Jonah van Beijnen, Dominic Rodriguez, Edmund Jose, Arvin Diesmos 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Luzon Island, Philippines, VIII: the herpetofauna of Cagayan and Isabela Provinces, northern Sierra Madre Mountain Range. ZooKeys 266 (2013) Special Issue: 1-120<br />doi: 10.3897/zookeys.266.3982 - get paper here
  • Duellman, W.E. 2015. Herpetology at Kansas - a centennial history. SSAR, 346 pp.
  • Gojo-Cruz, Paul Henric P. and Leticia E. Afuang 2018. The Zoogeographic Significance of Caraballo Mountain Range, Luzon Island, Philippines With Focus on the Biogeography of Luzon’s Herpetofauna Philippine Journal of Science 147 (3): 393-409 - get paper here
  • Koch A, Ziegler T, Böhme W, Arida E, Auliya M. 2013. Pressing Problems: Distribution, Threats, and Conservation Status of the Monitor Lizards (Varanidae: Varanus spp.) of Southeast Asia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Herp. Cons. Biol. 8 (Monograph 3): 1 − 62. - get paper here
  • Koch, André; Mark Auliya & Thomas Ziegler 2010. Updated checklist of the living monitor lizards of the world (Squamata: Varanidae). Bonn Zool. Bull. 57 (2): 127–136 - get paper here
  • Law, Stephanie J.; Selvino R. de Kort, Daniel Bennett, and Merlijn van Weerd 2016. Morphology, Activity Area, and Movement Patterns of the Frugivorous Monitor Lizard Varanus bitatawa. Herp. Cons. Biol. 11 (3): - get paper here
  • Siler, C.D.; L.J. Welton; J.M. Siler; J. Brown; A. Bucol; A.C. Diesmos; R. Brown. 2011. Amphibians and Reptiles, Luzon Island, Aurora Province and Aurora Memorial National Park, Northern Philippines: New island distribution records. Check List 7 (2):182-195 - get paper here
  • Sy, E. Y. 2012. First Record of Varanus bitatawa in the Philippine Pet Trade. Biawak 6 (2): 73 - get paper here
  • Welton, Luke J.; Cameron D. Siler, Daniel Bennett, Arvin Diesmos, M. Roy Duya, Roldan Dugay, Edmund Leo B. Rico, Merlijn Van Weerd, and Rafe M. Brown 2010. A spectacular new Philippine monitor lizard reveals a hidden biogeographic boundary and a novel flagship species for conservation. Biology Letters doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0119 - get paper here
 
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