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Varanus dalubhasa WELTON, TRAVERS, SILER & BROWN, 2014

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesEnteng’s Monitor Lizard 
SynonymVaranus dalubhasa WELTON, TRAVERS, SILER & BROWN 2014
Varanus (Soterosaurus) dalubhasa — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionPhilippines (Luzon)

Type locality: 18 m above sea level (14.03202, 122.34143; WGS-84), Barangay Madlangdungan, Municipality of Calauag, Quezon Province, Luzon Island, Philippines  
TypesHolotype. PNM 9796 (formerly University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute [KU] 306603; Field No. CWL 521), adult male, collected by Charles W. Linkem and CDS, 08 July 2006.
Paratopotypes. KU 305155 (CDS Field No. 2202), adult male; PNM 9797 (formerly KU 306601; CWL Field No. 440), juvenile; KU 306602 (CWL Field No. 520), adult male.
Paratypes. KU 308216 (CDS Field No. 2298), juvenile, collected 22 February 2007, Barangay Buenavista, Municipality of Bato, Catanduanes Province, Catanduanes Island, Philippines; KU 313880 (RMB Field No. 9910), adult male, collected 01 July 2008, Barangay Tulay Na Lupa, Municipality of Labo, Camarines Norte Province, Luzon Island; KU 326702 and 326703 (LJW Field No. 0075, 0077), adult males, salvaged 3 August 2009, Polillo Island (exact locality information unknown). 
CommentDiagnosis. Varanus dalubhasa can be distinguished from congeners by (1) small, dark speckling and variable transverse banding through the gular region (Fig. 3); (2) number of scales around the tail at 1/3 distance from the base; (3) number of gular scales; (4) number of dorsal scales in nuchal region; (5) total number of dorsal scales; (6) number of scales around the neck anterior to the gular fold; and (7) phylogenetic placement sister to V. nuchalis. Additionally, this distinct lineage is biogeographically circumscribed in the Bicol Peninsula faunal sub-region, a distinct geological component of greater Luzon Island which remained inuslar until 3 Ma (Hall 2002).

Comparisons. The new species in phenotypically nearly indistinguishable from Varanus marmoratus, but can generally be diagnosed by the presence of small, dark speckling in the gular region and faint anterior transverse bands (versus speckling and distinct anterior transverse bands; Fig. 3), and its allopatric distribution in the Bicol faunal sub-region (versus the remaining portions of Luzon and Lubang islands, and the Batanes and Babuyan island groups). Additionally, although V. dalubhasa is phenotypically similar to V. marmoratus, available data suggest that it is not most closely related to this species (Fig. 2).
Varanus dalubhasa can be conveniently distinguished from its allopatric sister taxon, V. nuchalis (distributed in the West Visayan islands of Negros, Panay, Guimaras, Masbate, and the Romblon Province islands of Sibuyan, Tablas, and Romblon; Fig. 1, 2), by the presence of more scales around the tail at 1/3 distance from the base (mean = 53 ± 4, versus 46 ± 3), fewer gular scales (mean = 80 ± 3, versus 73 ± 3), and more dorsal scales from the tympanum to the gular fold (mean = 27 ± 2, versus 23 ± 2). Of the remaining, geographically proximate species of the V. salvator Complex, this new species can be distinguished from V. palawanensis by having fewer dorsal scales from the tympanum to the gular fold (mean = 27 ± 2, versus 32 ± 3), fewer dorsal scales from the gular fold to the hind limb insertion (mean = 84 ± 5, versus 96 ± 3), fewer total dorsals scales longitudinally (mean = 111 ± 5, versus 128 ± 3), and fewer scales around the neck anterior to the gular fold (mean = 78 ± 3, versus 87 ± 4). Additionally, V. dalubhasa can be distinguished from the allopatric Mindoro lineage by having variable dark speckling and transverse bands in the gular region (versus distinct spotting; Fig. 3). Lastly, V. dalubhasa is comprised of entirely distinct haplotypes or haplotype networks, relative to all other members of the V. salvator Complex (see Welton et al., 2010a). We have constrained our morphological analyses to the geographically most proximate taxa due to previous studies (Koch et al. 2007, 2010b) demonstrating their distinctiveness relative to the remaining diversity withing the V. salvator Complex. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet, dalubhasa, is derived from the Tagolog word “dalubhasa” meaning a person who has authoritative and comprehensive knowledge of a particular area, or a skilled expert in a particular subject. We choose this term in honor of Vicente “Enteng” Yngente of Polillo Island, whose extensive knowledge of natural history and ecology of Philippine reptiles (particularly monitor lizards) has been instrumental to our research and conservation work. 
  • 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
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