Varanus nesterovi BÖHME, EHRLICH, MILTO, ORLOV & SCHOLZ, 2015
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Varanus nesterovi?
|Higher Taxa||Varanidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||Nesterov’s desert monitor|
|Synonym||Varanus nesterovi BÖHME, EHRLICH, MILTO, ORLOV & SCHOLZ 2015|
Varanus griseus — TUCK 1971: 60 (part.) (not of DAUDIN 1803)
Varanus griseus caspius — MERTENS 1973: 234 (part.) (not EICHWALD 1823)
Varanus griseus caspius — FATHINIA et al. 2009: pl. 6f (part.)
Varanus (Psammosaurus) nesterovi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50
|Distribution||Iraq - Iran border area|
Type locality: “Biare,” currently Byara Village, Muhafazat as Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (35°13’50’’ N 46°07’15’’ E), 1086 m elevation. Map legend:
- Type locality.
|Types||Holotype. ZISP 23300, collected by P. V. Nesterov, on 8 June 1914 (Figs. 3, 9, and 10).|
Paratypes. ZISP 11752.1 and 11752.2, Abu-naft River near Nawtkhana Village, DiyalaGMandali, Iraq (approx. 34°06’26.9’’ N 45°32’58.4’’ E), collected by P. V. Nesterov, on 19 April 1914. USNM 160302, 35 km E of Gachsaran, Khuzistan Province, Iran (30°12’ N 50°47’ E), western foothills of Zagros Mts., collected by R. G. Tuck, on 11 February 1964.
|Comment||Diagnosis. A big-growing representative of the Psammosaurus section of Varanus (total length up to 120 cm) which is readily distinguished from V. griseus (in parentheses the conditions in V. griseus ssp.) by (1) its broader and shorter head with a convex profile (vs. straight or anteriorly concave head profile); (2) nostril roundish to vertically oval, not just in front of eye (Figs. 1, 7, and 10) (vs. nostril shaped as an oblique slit narrowing anteriorly and situated closer to the eye); (3) neck scalation of strongly enlarged, spine-like scales, strongest on the sides of the neck, which may even form recurved spines (Figs. 1, 2, and 7) (vs. moderately to weakly enlarged tubercles in the same region); (4) dorsal side uniformly sand-colored, without well visible dark crossbands, with only rudimentary and indis- tinct traces of a dark pattern at best (Figs. 5 and 6) (vs. normally with distinct dark crossbands and/or lighter flecks on a darker ground) and (5) tail laterally compressed with a distinct dorsal keel for nearly the entire tail length, and indistinct crossbands only in the proximal half of tail, the remain- ing tail being uniformly yellowish (Figs. 5, 6, 8, and 11) (vs. a tail being round in cross section with distinct crossbanding throughout tail length in V. g. griseus, with the tendency of tail ring fusion towards a blackish distal part of tail; or a slightly compressed tail in the distalmost part only which is uniformly yellowish and patternless in V. g. caspius and in V. g. koniecznyi).|
Distribution: see map in BÖHME et al. 2015: 48.
|Etymology||Named after its first discoverer, Petr Vladimirovich Nesterov (1883 – 1941, Fig. 15) who had recognized already its specific distinctness and even had coined already a name for it — unfortunately never published due to the political chaos between the outbreak of World War I and World War II which affected his life severely and lastly even led to his tragic death in an Estonian NKVD prison (Adler, 2012).|
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