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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymVaranus colei BÖHME, JACOBS, KOPPETSCH & SCHMITZ 2019
Monitor chlorostigma — DORIA 1875
Monitor indicus — PETERS & DORIA 1878
Varanus indicus — BOULENGER 1885
Varanus indicus — ROUX 1910
Varanus indicus — DE ROOIJ 1915
Varanus indicus — SPRACKLAND 1992
Varanus indicus — BÖHME et al. 1994
Varanus indicus — BRANDENBURG 1983
Varanus finschi — PHILIPP et al. in PIANKA & KING 2004
Varanus finschi — ZIEGLER et al. 2007
Varanus indicus — DE LISLE 2009
Varanus cf. finschi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2012
Varanus finschi — KOCH et al. 2013
Varanus cf. finschi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016
Varanus indicus — WEIJOLA 2017
Varanus indicus — WEIJOLA et al. 2017
Varanus cf. finschi — ARIDA 2017
Varanus cf. indicus — KARIN et al. 2018
Varanus indicus s. str. — WEIJOLA et al. 2019
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) colei — WEIJOLA & KRAUS 2023 
DistributionIndonesia (Maluku: Kei Kecil Island)

Type locality: Ohoitel near Tual, Kei Kecil Island, Kei Archipelago, Maluku Province, Indonesia  
TypesHolotype: MZB 14729 (formerly ZFMK 98799), male, courtesy M. A. Cole, B. Soetanto, 2016 (Fig. 1 in Böhme et al. 2019).
Paratypes. ZMUC R 4267 – 4268 and 4270, ZFMK 84982 (ex-ZMUC R 4269), from Tual (“Toeal”), Kei Kecil Island, Kei Archipelago, Maluku Province, collected by Dr. Th. Mortensen, on 20 March 1922; and ZFMK 98800 – 801, ZFMK 101942 – 944, same data as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) indicus species group which is characterized by a conspicuous dorsal pattern of ring-like yellow flecks on a dark dorsum (blackish in life), the scales adorned with yellow spots being slightly larger than the surrounding ones (Figs. 1 – 3, see also Fig. 29 in Karin et al., 2018). From the widely distributed V. indicus, which may still be a collective species where additional cryptic taxa may be hidden, it is distinguished by its light, dark spotted pinkish tongue (always dark bluish to black in V. indicus, see Böhme et al., 1994) and its having hemipenial paryphasmata on both sides of the sperm groove (Ziegler, unpublished) which are present on only one side of the sulcus in V. indicus (Böhme, 1991: Fig. 2C; Ziegler and Böhme, 1997: Fig. 31; Ziegler et al., 2007: Table 4).
From the phenetically most similar V. finschi, endemic to New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, with which it shares a light tongue color, a light throat and a dorsal pattern of larger yellow, mostly ocellar spots, V. colei sp. nov., endemic to the Kei Archipelago, can be distinguished by considerably higher scale counts (e.g., midbody count: S value 139 – 155 vs. 106 – 137 in V. indicus s. str., Ziegler et al., 2007), and by the ultrastructure of its nuchal, dorsal, lateral and ventral scalation which shows markedly more and larger granules between neighboring scales. Moreover, V. colei sp. nov. is distinguished from V. finschi by having a posterior granulum at the nuchal scales only (not on neck and lateral scales), and more than one sensory pit in the neck scales (vs. only one in V. finchi) (Bucklitsch et al., 2012, 2016). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Weijola & Kraus 2023: 948 (Fig. 1). 
EtymologyThe new species is named after Michael Allan Cole, a US reptile enthusiast who established a “Wildlife Exploration Foundation” for nature education and for further discovery and preservation of wild and specifically new species. He supported also the discovery of the new monitor lizard taxon described here. 
  • Arida E. 2017. Genetic divergence and phylogenetic relationships among Indonesian species of monitor lizards of the genus Varanus based on Cytochrome Oxidase I sequences. Hayati J. Biosci., 24, 41 – 45 - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang; Hans J. Jacobs, Thore Koppetsch, Andreas Schmitz 2019. The Kei Islands Monitor Lizard (Squamata: Varanidae: Varanus: Euprepiosaurus) as a Distinct Morphological, Taxonomic, and Conservation Unit. Russ. J. Herpetol. 26 (5): 272-280 - get paper here
  • Böhme,W., H. G. HORN & T. ZIEGLER 1994. Zur Taxonomie der Pazifikwarane (Varanus-indicus-Komplex): Revalidierung von Varanus doreanus (A. B. MEYER, 1874) mit Beschreibung einer neuen Unterart. Salamandra 30 (2): 119-142 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Brandenburg T. 1983. Monitors in the Indo-Australian archipelago. PhD Thesis, University of Leiden
  • Bucklitsch Y., Böhme W., and Koch A. 2012. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of monitor lizards’ scale ultra- structure: systematic implications. Biawak, 6, 57 – 60
  • BUCKLITSCH, YANNICK; WOLFGANG BÖHME, ANDRÉ KOCH 2016. Scale Morphology and Micro-Structure of Monitor Lizards (Squamata: Varanidae: Varanus spp.) and their Allies: Implications for Systematics, Ecology, and Conservation. . Zootaxa 4153 (1): 001–192 - get paper here
  • de Rooij, N. de 1915. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. I. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 384 pp. - get paper here
  • Doria, G. 1875. Enumerazione dei rettili raccolti dal Dott. O. Beccari in Amboina alle Isole Aru ed alle Isole Kei durante gli anni 1872-73. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. Genova 6: 325-357 [1874] - get paper here
  • Karin, Benjamin R.;, Alexander L. Stubbs, Umilaela Arifin, Luke M. Bloch, G. Ramadhan, Djoko T. Iskandar, Evy Arida, Sean B. Reilly, Agus Kusnadi & Jimmy A. Mcguire 2018. The herpetofauna of the Kei Islands (Maluku, Indonesia): Comprehensive report on new and historical collections, biogeographic patterns, conservation concerns, and an annotated checklist of species from Kei Kecil, Kei Besar, Tam, and Kur. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY 66: 704–738 - 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
  • Kwet, A. 2020. Liste der im Jahr 2019 neubeschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2020 (3): 44-67
  • Lisle, H.F. de 2009. Catalog of the genus Varanus (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanidae) with new designations of a neotype and a lectotype. [type catalogue] ZooNova 1 (2): 8-32 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig and G. Doria. 1878. Catalogo dei retilli e dei batraci raccolti da O. Beccari, L. M. D'Alberts e A. A. Bruijn. nella sotto-regione Austro-Malese. Annali del Museo Civico de Storia Naturale di Genova. ser. 1, 13: 323-450 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. and D. R. King, eds. 2004. Varanoid Lizards of the World. Indiana University Press, 599 pp - get paper here
  • Roux,J. 1910. Reptilien und Amphibien der Aru- und Kei-Inseln. Abh. senckenb. naturf. Ges. (Frankfurt) 33: 211-247 - get paper here
  • Sprackland R. G. 1992. Giant Lizards. T. F. H. Publications, New Jersey
  • 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
  • Weijola, Valter; Fred Kraus, Varpu Vahtera, Christer Lindqvist and Stephen C. Donnellan 2017. Reinstatement of Varanus douarrha Lesson, 1830 as a valid species with comments on the zoogeography of monitor lizards (Squamata : Varanidae) in the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Zoology, published online April 26, 2017; doi: 10.1071/ZO16038 - get paper here
  • Weijola, Valter; Varpu Vahtera, Christer Lindqvist, Fred Kraus 2019. A molecular phylogeny for the Pacific monitor lizards (Varanus subgenus Euprepiosaurus) reveals a recent and rapid radiation with high levels of cryptic diversity. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 186 (4): 1053–1066 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, T., Schmitz, A., Koch, A. & W. Böhme 2007. A review of the subgenus Euprepiosaurus of Varanus (Squamata: Varanidae): morphological and molecular phylogeny, distribution and zoogeography, with an identification key for the members of the V. indicus and the V. prasinus species groups. Zootaxa 1472: 1-28 - get paper here
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