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Varanus bushi APLIN, FITCH & KING, 2006

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Sauria (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymVaranus bushi APLIN, FITCH & KING 2006
Varanus bushi — EIDENMÜLLER 2007
Varanus (Odatria) bushi — KOCH et al. 2010 
DistributionAustralia (Pilbara region)

Type locality: Marandoo, Western Australia in 22° 37’ S 118° 08’ E Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
 
TypesHolotype: Western Australian Museum R108999, adult male. Collected on 20 June 1991 by Greg Harold 
CommentVaranus bushi is similar to V. caudolineatus and V. gilleni but distinguishable from each of these taxa on genetic and morphological criteria. The three species are closely related and together constitute a species group within subgenus Odatria. The new species is restricted to the Pilbara region of Western Australia and appears to be sympatric with V. caudolineatus at several localities. It is more widely separated from known populations of V. gilleni. The new species is associated with mulga woodland and is at least partially arboreal, but little else is known of its ecology. Combined morphometric and meristic analyses indicate complex patterns of sexual dimorphism in all three species, including relative body elongation in females that is reflected in higher modal presacral vertebral counts in females than males of each species. Body elongation of females needs to be taken into account in future analyses of sexual dimorphism in varanid lizards.

Diagnosis: A small-bodied member of the subgenus Odatria distinguished from most others by the combination of a longitudinally striped and only moderately spinose tail, unkeeled head and body scales, non-overlapping ventral primary scales, and an absence of longitudinal streaks on throat. Distinguished from V. gilleni by its slightly lesser average size, more elongate dorsal scales, more densely spotted venter and more irregularly spotted dorsum, less prominent linear patterning on the head and neck, and its more numerous presacral vertebrae, pedal subdigital lamellae and ventral scales. Males are further distinguished from V. gilleni by having hemipenes with an undivided inner hemibaculum. Distinguished from V. caudolineatus by its slightly greater average and maximum size, proportionally shorter fore- and hind-limbs, more elongate snout, higher average midbody and ventral scale counts, higher average sub-digital lamellar counts on pes, more finely scaled and less rugose proximal portion of the tail, more numerous presacral vertebrae, less conspicuously spotted head, more orderly alignment of dorsal pattern into transverse rows, and presence of transverse bands on the basal one-third of the tail. Males are further distinguished from V. caudolineatus by having a shorter hemipenis with more numerous papillose distal frills. 
EtymologyEtymology: We take pleasure in naming this species after naturalist and educator Brian Bush who has contributed enormously to our knowledge of the herpetofauna of Western Australia and of the Pilbara region in particular. 
References
  • Aplin, K.P.; Fitch, A.J. & King, D.J. 2006. A new species of Varanus Merrem (Squamata: Varanidae) from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with observations on sexual dimorphism in closely related species. Zootaxa 1313: 1–38 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. 2007. Small monitors in the terrarium. Reptilia (GB) (50): 12-19 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. 2007. Kleinwarane im Terrarium. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (63): 16-23 - get paper here
  • FRÝDLOVÁ, PETRA and DANIEL FRYNTA 2010. A test of Rensch’s rule in varanid lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 293–306 - 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
  • Wilson,S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
 
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