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Varanus mertensi GLAUERT, 1951

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Mertens's Water Monitor
G: Mertens Wasserwaran 
SynonymVaranus mertensi GLAUERT 1951
Varanus bulliwallah WORRELL 1956
Varanus mertensi — STORR 1980: 270
Varanus mertensi — COGGER 1983
Varanus mertensi — DE LISLE 1996: 130
Varanus mertensi — COGGER 2000: 369
Varanus mertensi — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Varanus (Varanus) mertensi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionAustralia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)

Type locality: Moola Bulla Cattle Station near Halls Creek, East Kimberly, Western Australia.

bulliwallah: Queensland, Australia. Type locality: Near Belyando, Bulliwallah Station, Queensland, Australia.  
TypesHolotype: WAM R5819, from Moola Bulla Cattle Station, near Hall 's Creek, East Kimberley, W. A.
Holotype: AM R14810, from Bulliwallah Station, on the Belyando River, Qld. [bulliwallah] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large dark water monitor (up to 113 cm long), all but base of tail extremely strongly compressed, with a two-keeled crest. Further distinguishable from V. mitchelli by more numerous midbody scale rows and dorsal pattern of small black-edged pale spots, immaculate throat and usually immaculate under surface of tail (pale yellowish brown, sharply demarcated from dark brown of lateral surfaces) (Storr 1980)
Description: Snout-vent length (mm): 65-475 (N 33, mean 288.8). Length of appendages (% SVL): foreleg 24-30 (N 25, mean 26.3), hindleg 33-41 (N 26, mean 37.9), tail 136-183 (N 26, mean 153.2). Midbody scale rows 150-180 (N 16, mean 165.5). Lamellae under fourth toe 27-36 (N 25, mean 31.2). Head scales smooth, small (but somewhat larger than in congeners); supra-orbitals not well differentiated from interorbitals. No canthus rostralis. Nostril laterodorsal or dorsolateral, nearer to tip of snout than orbit. Nails black, moderately long and slender, slightly curved. Head olive brown, centre of scales blackish brown. Back, sides of body, upper surfaces of limbs and base of tail medium to dark olive grey or olive brown, sparsely covered with very small, black-edged, greyish white or yellowish white spots; spots arranged in no pattern, except on base of tail where they tend to align transversely. Whitish ring around ear aperture, joined at top to whitish streak from orbit. Upper and lower lips barred with dark grey and brownish white. Sides of tail dull olive brown, occasionally tinged with reddish brown, and indistinctly flecked with buff and blackish brown. Under surfaces brownish white or yellowish white; abdomen, hindlegs and base of tail with irregular or broken bars, spots or a reticulum of grey or brownish grey. (Storr 1980) 
EtymologyNamed after Robert Mertens (1894-1975), Russian-born herpetologist who worked most of his life at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. See also Haacke 1975. 
  • AIYER, ABHILASHA; BUNUBA RANGERS, TINA BELL, RICHARD SHINE, RUCHIRA SOMAWEERA, MILES BRUNY & GEORGIA WARD‐FEAR. 2022. Taking the bait: Developing a bait delivery system to target free‐ranging crocodiles and varanid lizards with a novel conservation strategy. Ecology and Evolution 12(6): 1–11. - get paper here
  • Ávalos, J. de & Martínez Carrión, P. 1997. Warane. Reptilia (Münster) 2 (5): 16-21 - get paper here
  • Bennet, D.F. 2003. Australian Monitors. Reptilia (GB) (30): 12-19 - get paper here
  • Bennet, D.F. 2003. Australische Warane. Reptilia (Münster) 8 (43): 18-25 - 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
  • Branch, W. R. 1982. Hemipeneal Morphology of Platynotan Lizards. Journal of Herpetology 16 (1): 16-38 - 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
  • Bustard, H. R. 1970. Australian Lizards. Sydney: Collins 162 pp. - get paper here
  • Christian, K.A., B.W. Weavers, B. Green & G.S. Bedford 1996. Energetics and Water flux in a Semiaquatic Lizard, Varanus mertensi Copeia 1996 (2): 354-362. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Cooper, Taylor; Amanda Liew, Gabriel Andrle, Elisabeth Cafritz, Hannah Dallas, Trent Niesen, Emily Slater, Joseph Stockert, Taylor Vold, Michael Young & Joseph Mendelson 2019. Latency in Problem Solving as Evidence for Learning in Varanid and Helodermatid Lizards, with Comments on Foraging Techniques. Copeia 107 (1): 78-84 - get paper here
  • Earley, Ryan L.; Omar Attum, Perri Eason 2002. Varanid combat: perspectives from game theory. Amphibia-Reptilia 23 (4): 469-485 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller & Wicker 1998. Beobachtungen an Varanus mertensi-Gelegen inkubiert unter verschiedenen Bedingungen. Herpetofauna 20 (116): 30-34 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. 1990. Beobachtungen bei der Haltung und Nachzucht von Varanus (Varanus) mertensi GLAUERT 1951. Salamandra 26 (2-3): 312-139 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. 1997. Haltung und Zucht von Waranen. Reptilia (Münster) 2 (5): 22-25 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. & R. Stein 1991. Zwillingsanlage bei Varanus (Varanus) mertensi GLAUERT, 1951. Salamandra 27 (4): 282-283 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, Bernd 2013. Von Darwin nach Alice Springs – der Warane wegen. Draco 13 (53): 55-61 - get paper here
  • Ellis, R.J. 2018. An annotated type catalogue of varanid lizards (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanidae) in the collection of the Western Australian Museum. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 33:187-194, DOI: 10.18195/issn.0312-3162.33(2).2018.187-194 - get paper here
  • Escoriza Boj, D. 2005. Australia. Reptiles and Amphibians, Part 2: Desert and tropical savanna. Reptilia (GB) (41): 52-57 - get paper here
  • FRÝDLOVÁ, PETRA and DANIEL FRYNTA 2010. A test of Rensch’s rule in varanid lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 293–306 - get paper here
  • Glauert, L. 1951. A new Varanus from East Kimberley, Varanus mertensi sp. n. Western Australian Naturalist 3: 14-16 - get paper here
  • Haacke, W.D. 1975. Obituaries on African Herpetologists- Mertens, R. 1894 - 1975. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (14): 35-36 - get paper here
  • Iannucci, Alessio; Marie Altmanová, Claudio Ciofi, Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, Massimo Milan, Jorge Claudio Pereira, James Pether, Ivan Rehák, Michail Rovatsos, Roscoe Stanyon, Petr Velenský, Petr Ráb, Lukáš Kratochvíl & Martina Johnson Pokorná 2019. Conserved sex chromosomes and karyotype evolution in monitor lizards (Varanidae). Heredity 123, 215–227 - get paper here
  • Lisle, H.F. de 1996. Natural History of Monitor Lizards. Krieger, Malabar (Florida)
  • Mertens, R. 1958. Bemerkungen über die Warane Australiens. Senckenbergiana biologica 39: 229-264
  • Murphy, J.B. & W.E. Lamoreaux 1978. Threatening Behavior in Mertens' Water Monitor Varanus mertensi (Sauria: Varanidae) Herpetologica 34 (2): 202-205 - 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
  • Polleck 1999. F2-Nachzucht mit Anmerkungen zur Terrarienhaltung des Mertenswarans, Varanus mertensi Glaubert, 1951. Herpetofauna 21 (119): 19-23 - get paper here
  • RHIND, DAVID; CHRIS JACKSON, NADAV PEZARO & J. SEAN DOODY 2016. A Nest of Varanus mertensi (Glauert, 1951) in Northern Australia. Biawak 10 (1): 18 - get paper here
  • Schürer, U. & Horn, H G. 1976. Freiland- und Gefangenschaftsbeobachtungen am australischen Wasserwaran, Varanus mertensi. Salamandra 12 (4): 176-188 - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1980. The monitor lizards (genus Varanus Merrem, 1820) of Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 8 (2): 237-293 - get paper here
  • Thompson, G.G. & P.C. Withers 1998. Standard Evaporative Water Loss and Metabolism of Juvenile Varanus mertensi (Squamata: Varanidae) Copeia 1998 (4): 1054-1059. - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
  • Worrell, E. 1956. A new water-monitor from northern Australia. Aust. Zool. 12: 201-202
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