Varanus hamersleyensis MARYAN, OLIVER, FITCH & O’CONNELL, 2014
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Varanus hamersleyensis?
|Higher Taxa||Varanidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||E: Southern Pilbara Rock Goanna|
G: Südlicher Pilbara Felsenwaran
|Synonym||Varanus hamersleyensis MARYAN, OLIVER, FITCH & O’CONNELL 2014|
Varanus (Odatria) hamersleyensis — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50
|Distribution||Australia (Hamersley Range, Western Australia)|
Type locality: Hamersley Range, Weeli Wolli Creek (22°52'40"S 119°14'24"E), Western Australia, Australia
|Types||Holotype: WAM R145733, male, R. Teale & G. Harold, 28 April 2003. Fixed in 10% formalin, stored in 70% ethanol, liver sample stored in –80°C ultrafreezer at WAM. Paratypes: All from Western Australia. WAM R125456 (male)—30 km E Newman (23°19'S 120°02'E); WAM R125766 (female)—Circular Pool, Dales Gorge (22°38'36"S 118°33'47"E); WAM R129628 (male)—120 km NW Newman (22°55'S 119°01'E); WAM R140734 (female)—Rocklea Station (22°56'55"S 117°16'07"E); WAM R164579 (male)—8.5 km NE Mount Rica (21°57'08"S 116°29'18"E).|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis and comparison. Differs from all Australian congeners by the following combination of characters: size moderately small (SVL up to 160 mm); slender build; tail long (between 168–207% of SVL) and thin, circular in cross section at midpoint, midbody scales 120–122; dorsal and lateral scales weakly keeled, enlarged keeled ventrolateral scales on each side of and posterior to vent in 4–6 rows, scales on top of head smooth; supraoculars gradually merging with larger interoculars; dorsal scales elongate, ovate; nostrils high and oriented dorsolaterally, dorsal and lateral surfaces of body with subdued irregular dark brown to black spots or vermiculations on a dark reddish-brown background, small ocelli on the dorsal surface of the hindlimbs only, and tail without prominent dark bands.|
Varanus hamersleyensis sp. nov. differs from its sister species V. pilbarensis in its overall darker colouration, presence of small whitish ocelli usually on the dorsal surface of the limbs only (v. large greyish ocelli on the dorsal and lateral surfaces of body and limbs), largely unbanded tail (v. strongly banded tail) and smaller and less elongate dorsal scales (Fig. 3B in MARYAN et al. 2014).
|Comment||Similar species: this species was previously considered as the southern clade of Varanus pilbarensis. Both species may interbred, at least in captivity (Vega & Koch 2017).|
Habitat: Varanus hamersleyensis sp. nov. is strictly saxicolous and closely associated with rocky habitats such as banded ironstone rock faces and gorges. It shelters in overhangs, crevices, cavities and occasionally under exfoliated rock slabs. Typical vegetation on these faces varies, but often includes Eucalyptus and Triodia (Spinifex). Field observations indicate a preference for flat, horizontal sheet ironstone with an east- west aspect to allow optimum basking in the morning.
|Etymology||Named for the Hamersley Range of Western Australia, the region to which it is restricted. This is the most prominent mountainous area in Western Australia (including Mount Meharry, 1245 m, and the highest peak in the state) and home to a suite of endemic taxa. Used as a noun in apposition.|