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Varanus lirungensis KOCH, ARIDA, SCHMITZ, BÖHME & ZIEGLER, 2009

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesTalaud mangrove monitor 
SynonymVaranus lirungensis KOCH, ARIDA, SCHMITZ, BÖHME & ZIEGLER 2009
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) lirungensis — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) lirungensis — KOCH et al. 2013
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) lirungensis — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionIndonesia (Talaud Islands, Sulawesi)

Type locality: near Lirung, Pulau Salibabu, Talaud Islands, Indonesia.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MZB Lac. 5178 (field number AK059), adult male (Figs 4–6), collected by A. Koch and E. Arida, on 18.vii.2005. Paratypes. MZB Lac. 5177 (AK064), adult female, collected by A. Koch and E. Arida on 19.vii.2005, same locality data as holotype; MZB Lac. 5179 (AK066) and MZB Lac. 5180 (AK065), two adult males; MZB Lac. 5176 (AK067), subadult, same data as previous specimens; ZMA 15411b, juvenile, Lirung, Pulau (=Island) Salibabu, Kepulauan (=Archipelago) Talaud, collected by the Siboga Expedition of M. Weber, 25–27.vii.1899; ZFMK 87587 (formerly ZMA 15411a), adult female, same collection data as the previous specimen. 
CommentDiagnosis: The newly described monitor lizard species from the Talaud Islands is characterised by the following combination of characters: (1) dorsal background colour black, irregularly scattered with numerous yellow scales that form indistinct blotches or short transverse lines consisting of 3–8 scales on the dorsum; (2) limbs also irregularly spotted with yellow scales; (3) tail of adults without distinct light and dark crossbands but mottled with yellow scales; (4) lack of blue pigmentation; (5) head dark grey to blackish, each scale with yellow markings mainly consisting of a light margin or a small central spot; (6) a light temporal streak is missing; (7) a pinkish throat; (8) tongue of adults only dorsally pigmented dark grey, flesh-coloured at base and ventrally; (9) 16–21 faded dark crossbands on the ventral side, and a light, pinkish throat at least on adult specimens with faded dark blotches on the sides; (10) tail laterally compressed with a well defined double keel on the dorsal ridge; (11) hemipenis with paryphasman rows (‘frills’) on both sides of the sulcus; (12) 135–151 scales around midbody; (13) 131–143 transverse rows of dorsal scales from the hind margin of tympanum to the beginning of the hind legs; (14) 79–88 scales around base of tail; (15) 94–106 scales around neck before the gular fold. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet, lirungensis, is derived from the name of the small town of Lirung on Salibabu Island in the Talaud Archipelago, from where the type series originates. 
References
  • Koch A, Arida E, Schmitz A, Böhme W, Ziegler T. 2009. Refining the polytypic species concept of mangrove monitors (Squamata: Varanus indicus group): a new cryptic species from the Talaud Islands, Indonesia, reveals the underestimated diversity of Indo-Australian monitor lizards. Australian Journal of Zoology 57(1): 29-40 - get paper here
  • Koch, A. 2011. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi: Underestimated Diversity in a Dynamic Environment. In: F.E. Zachos and J.C. Habel (eds.), Biodiversity Hotspots. Springer, Berlin, p. 383-404
  • Koch, A. 2012. Discovery, Diversity, and Distribution of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi and its offshore islands. Edition Chimaira, 374 pp. [ISBN 978-3-89973-432-4] - 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
  • Koch, André; Thomas Ziegler, Wolfgang Böhme, and Mark Auliya 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
  • Weijola V, Sweet SS. 2015. A single species of mangrove monitor (Varanus) occupies Ambon, Seram, Buru and Saparua, Moluccas, Indonesia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 9 (1) [General Section]: 14–23 - get paper here
 
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