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Varanus palawanensis KOCH, GAULKE & BÖHME, 2010

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymVaranus palawanensis KOCH, GAULKE & BÖHME 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) palawanensis — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) palawanensis — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionPhilippines (Palawan; Balabac and the Calamian Island group including Calauit and Busuanga; Sibutu Island within the Sulu Archipelago)

Type locality: Tabon, Palawan Island, Philippines  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: SMF 73912 (Figs. 25–27), adult male, collected by M. Gaulke 19.I.1989, donated 6.IV.1989. Paratypes. SMF 73914–15, 2 adults males, Tabon, Palawan Island, collected by M. Gaulke, I.1989, donated 6.IV.1989; BMNH 94.6.30.19, subadult, Palawan Island, collected by A. H. Everett, 1894; BMNH 94.6.30.20, adult (Fig. 28), Palawan Island, collected by A. H. Everett, 1894; MNHN 1884-187, adult (mounted), “Ile Paragua” (= Palawan), collected by A. Marché, ca. 1883; ZMUC E78, subadult, Dalawan Bay, Balabac Island, collected by the Noona Dan Expedition, 8.X.1961; ZFMK 89691 (formerly SMF 73913), adult male, Tabon, Palawan Island, collected by M. Gaulke, I.1989, donated 6.IV.1989. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This new water monitor species is characterised by the following combination of characters that distinguishes V. palawanensis sp. nov. from all congeners: (1) relatively high scale counts around the head from rictus to rictus (character P = 53–65, mean = 56.64), (2) but low scale counts around the body (character S = 129–148, mean = 139.00), (3) and mean scale counts along the dorsal side (character XY = 116–145, mean = 128.27). For the remaining scalation features we refer to Table 3. Moreover, (4) the salvator-typical colour pattern of dorsal transverse rows of big bright spots and a bright and dark banded tail is indistinct in V. palawanensis sp. nov., and replaced by a vague pattern of bright mottling consisting of many single or bright bordered scales. Instead, (5) specimens often exhibit white markings on the head, (6) but a bright lateral temporal streak extending between eye and ear opening is poorly defined. (7) The dark bluegreyish tongue is flesh-coloured only at its base. (8) Ventrally, the throat shows no dark lateral bars but is mottled with dark brown scales. 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. 
CommentThis species may have been previously identified as V. salvator marmoratus.

According to the timetree in Fig. S3 of Brennan et al. (2020), several taxa within the V. salvator group are distinctly younger than 1 million years, such as cumingi, marmoratus, palawanensis, and samarensis, hence they may be better considered as subspecies of V. salvator (Ziegler & Vences 2020). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet palawanensis refers to the type locality Palawan Island, Philippines. 
References
  • Böhme, Wolfgang 2014. Herpetology in Bonn. Mertensiella 21. vi + 256 pp. - get paper here
  • Conrad, Jack L. 2015. Skeletons of the Little-Known Palawan Monitor, Varanus palawanensis (Squamata: Varanidae). Journal of Herpetology Sep 2015, Vol. 49, No. 3: 485-490. - get paper here
  • Koch A, Ziegler T, Böhme W, Arida E, Auliya M. 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
  • Koch, A. 2010. Underestimated Diversity of Philippine Water Monitor Lizards (Varanus salvator Complex) Unraveled: a Contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity, 2010. Biawak 4 (2): 69-74 - get paper here
  • Koch, A.; Gaulke, M. & Böhme, W. 2010. Unravelling the underestimated diversity of Philippine water monitor lizards (Squamata: Varanus salvator complex), with the description of two new species and a new subspecies. Zootaxa 2446: 1–54 - get paper here
  • Koch, André 2018. 15 Jahre Forschung an indo-australischen Waranen. Terraria-Elaphe 2018 (5): 54-57 - 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, Z.; Philipp, K. & Ziegler, T. 2010. The Monitor Man: A Story of Stunning Discoveries and Charismatic Creatures. Biawak 4 (4): 132-152 - get paper here
  • Supsup CE, Asis AA, Carestia Jr UV, Diesmos AC, Mallari NAD, Brown RM 2020. Variation in species richness, composition and herpetological community structure across a tropical habitat gradient of Palawan Island, Philippines. Herpetozoa 33: 95-111 - get paper here
  • Welton, Luke J.; Perry L. Wood, Jamie R. Oaks, Cameron D. Siler, Rafe M. Brown 2014. Fossil-calibrated phylogeny and historical biogeography of Southeast Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Welton, Luke J.; SCOTT L. TRAVERS, CAMERON D. SILER, RAFE M. BROWN 2014. Integrative taxonomy and phylogeny-based species delimitation of Philippine water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator Complex) with descriptions of two new cryptic species. Zootaxa 3881 (3): 201–227 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, T.. & Vences, M. 2020. Molecular identification of water monitors (Varanus salvator complex) from confiscations and the pet trade, including phylogenetic placement of V. s. ziegleri – a molecular reference for species conservation enforcement and conservation breeding Zool. Garten N.F. 88: 31-50
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
 
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