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Varanus cumingi MARTIN, 1839

IUCN Red List - Varanus cumingi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cuming’s water monitor 
SynonymVaranus cumingi MARTIN 1839
Varanus cumingii — BOULENGER 1885: 316
Varanus salvator cumingi — MERTENS 1942
Varanus salvator cumingi — BÖHME 2002
Varanus salvator cumingi — GAULKE & HORN in PIANKA & KING 2004: 261
Varanus cumingi — KOCH et al. 2007
Varanus (Soterosaurus) cumingi — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) cumingi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionPhilippines (Mindanao, Camiguin Sur etc.)

Type locality: Mindanao, Philippines.  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.31.5 (dried skin), adult. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: As a conspicuous member of the V. salvator complex, V. cumingi can be identified by two main features: (1) the intensive yellow colour pattern of head and body in combination with the black background colour and (2) the possession of enlarged occipital scales around the pineal organ (character P: 47-57, x = 49.92, s = 2.99). Further diagnostic scalation characters are (3) enlarged dorsal scales (parameters X, Y, and XY; see Tab. 7) and (4) low scale counts around the tail at one third of the tail length (character R: 44-55, x = 49.25, s = 3.44). Additional characteristics of the colour pattern of V. cumingi are (5) black ocelli on the ventral side of the tail, (6) a black streak extending from the eye to the upper margin of the tympanum, (7) usually a unicoloured yellow chin without dark bars or crossbands, and (8) 8 to 15 dark crossbands on the belly. 
CommentAccording to the timetree in Fig. S3 of Brennan et al. (2020), several taxa within the V. salvator group are distinctly younger than 1 million years, such as cumingi, marmoratus, palawanensis, and samarensis, hence they may be better considered as subspecies of V. salvator (Ziegler & Vences 2020). 
EtymologyV. cumingi has been named after the collector of the type, “Mr. H. Cuming”. The subspecific epithet samarensis refers to the type locality Samar Islands, Philippines. 
  • Augstenová, Barbora, Eleonora Pensabene, Lukáš Kratochvíl, and Michail Rovatsos. 2021. Cytogenetic Evidence for Sex Chromosomes and Karyotype Evolution in Anguimorphan Lizards. Cells 10, no. 7: 1612 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. 2002. Langjährige Haltung und Altersrekord eines Bindenwarans, Varanus salvator (LAURENTI 1768) im Terrarium: zweithöchstes belegtes individuelles Lebensalter eines Vertreters der Varanidae. Herpetofauna 24 (141): 26-28 - 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
  • 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
  • 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, A. 2010. Underestimated Diversity of Philippine Water Monitor Lizards (Varanus salvator Complex) Unraveled: a Contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity, 2010. Biawak 4 (2): 69-74 - get paper here
  • Koch, A., Auliya, M; Schmitz, A.; Kuch, U. & Böhme, W. 2007. Morphological studies on the systematics of south east Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex): nominotypic populations and taxonomic overview. Mertensiella 16:109-180
  • Koch, A.; Gaulke, M. & Böhme, W. 2010. Unravelling the underestimated diversity of Philippine water monitor lizards (Squamata: Varanus salvator complex), with the description of two new species and a new subspecies. Zootaxa 2446: 1–54 - 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
  • Martin, W. 1839. [Remarks on two species of saurian reptiles]. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1838: 68-70 - get paper here
  • Mertens, R. 1942. Die Familie der Warane (Varanidae), 3. Teil: Taxonomie. Abh. Senckenb. naturf. Ges., 466: 235-391
  • Sanguila MB, Cobb KA, Siler CD, Diesmos AC, Alcala AC, Brown RM 2016. The amphibians and reptiles of Mindanao Island, southern Philippines, II: the herpetofauna of northeast Mindanao and adjacent islands. ZooKeys 624: 1–132, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.624.9814 - get paper here
  • Taylor, E.H. 1922. The lizards of the Philippine Islands. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bureau of Science, Government of the Philippine Islands, Manila, Publication no. 17: 269 pp. - get paper here
  • Venturina, R. E. L., Diesmos, M. L. L., Maglangit, E. P. T., del Prado, Y. L. C., Ordas, J. A. D., Fernandez, J. B., ... & Diesmos, A. C. 2023. Herpetofauna of Mount Capistrano, a Fragmented Limestone Karst Forest in Central Mindanao, Philippines. Philippine Journal of Science, 152(6A), 2031-2048
  • VENTURINA, Russell Evan L.;Ynigo Luis C. DEL PRADO,Rhim Ayyah C. KAMIR, Marlon N. BALMORES and Arvin C. DIESMOS 2020. A Revised Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Camiguin Sur, Misamis Oriental, Mindaanao, Philippines. Asian Herpetological Research 11 (1): 28-43 - get paper here
  • Welton, Luke J.; Perry L. Wood, Jamie R. Oaks, Cameron D. Siler, Rafe M. Brown 2014. Fossil-calibrated phylogeny and historical biogeography of Southeast Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Welton, Luke J.; SCOTT L. TRAVERS, CAMERON D. SILER, RAFE M. BROWN 2014. Integrative taxonomy and phylogeny-based species delimitation of Philippine water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator Complex) with descriptions of two new cryptic species. Zootaxa 3881 (3): 201–227 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, T.. & Vences, M. 2020. Molecular identification of water monitors (Varanus salvator complex) from confiscations and the pet trade, including phylogenetic placement of V. s. ziegleri – a molecular reference for species conservation enforcement and conservation breeding Zool. Garten N.F. 88: 31-50
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