Varanus nuchalis (GÜNTHER, 1872)
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|Higher Taxa||Varanidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Synonym||Hydrosaurus nuchalis GÜNTHER 1872: 145|
Varanus nuchalis — BOULENGER 1885: 315
Varanus salvator nuchalis — MERTENS 1942: 258
Varanus salvator nuchalis — GAULKE 2001: 14
Varanus (Soterosaurus) nuchalis — KOCH et al. 2007
Varanus (Soterosaurus) nuchalis — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) nuchalis — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50
|Distribution||Philippines (Cebu, Ticao, Negros, Panay and Masbate, Philippines);|
Type locality: Philippines. Restricted to Negros by MERTENS (1959) and KOCH et al. (2010).
|Types||Holotype: BMNH 19188.8.131.52, adult.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. V. nuchalis is readily characterised by (1) the strongly enlarged, prominent nuchal scales (character X) on the neck (except for those situated directly along the medio-dorsal line) in combination with (2) low mean scale counts on the dorsal side (character XY = 94–138, mean = 109.45). In addition, V. nuchalis can be identified by the following combination of proportion and scalation features: (3) the nostrils’ position (index 2 = 1.78–2.13, mean = 1.93) at approximately two third the distance from the eye to the tip of the snout; (4) low mean scale counts around the tail at one third of its length (character R = 43–55, mean = 47.50); (5) but high mean scale counts around midbody (character S = 136–169, mean = 151.45); (6) and on the ventral side (especially from the gular fold to the insertion of the hind limbs, character T = 84–94, mean = 87.79); (7) specimens often display white markings on the head; (8) occasionally a bright medio-dorsal stripe on nape and dorsum; and (9) usually a reduction of the dorsal transverse rows of bright spots with the exception of recurring pairs of two large oval spots or ocelli positioned immediately left and right along the backbone. (10) The tongue of V. nuchalis is not entirely dark but flesh-coloured, with pigmentation increasing only above from the bifurcation towards the tips. For details about scalation features and colour pattern of the remaining Philippine members of the V. salvator complex we refer to Tables 3 and 5 in KOCH et al. 2010.|
|Etymology||Etymology not given in original description, but according to Günther (1872) the species "is distinguished from all ist congeners by the extraordinary development of the nuchal scales", wich are described as "the scales on the neck are very large, larger than any of the scutes of the head…"|
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