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Varanus rainerguentheri ZIEGLER, BÖHME & SCHMITZ, 2007

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymVaranus rainerguentheri ZIEGLER, BÖHME & SCHMITZ 2007
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) rainerguentheri — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) rainerguentheri — KOCH et al. 2013
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) rainerguentheri — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionIndonesia (Halmahera, Moluccas, incl. Morotai, Bacan, Buru)

Type locality: Halmahera, Moluccas, Indonesia  
Reproductionoviparous, parthenogenetic species 
TypesHolotype: ZFMK 85404; Paratype: USNM 
CommentSimilar species: V. indicus.

Diagnosis: The new species is characterized by the following combination of characters: habitus relatively stoutly built, without swollen parietal region, but with relatively blunt snout tip in the larger specimen; dorsum greyish, with transversal rows of blackish ocelli with yellow centres; blackish temporal band, framed below by a light stripe; ventral side cream to greyish, with a dark network or transversal stripe pattern, but with light centre of throat; tongue pink-coloured, with greyish tips and bifurcation area as well as a longitudinal dark pigmented middle stripe running above and below the first half of the tongue; tail with transversal ocellate pattern; tail shape roundish only in its first eighth to tenth, then with well differentiated double keel on dorsal ridge; 138-139 midbody scale rows; 130-136 transverse rows of dorsal scales from hind margin of tympanum to beginning of hind legs; hemipenis with asymmetrical sulcus spermaticus, and paryphasma rows that stretch only towards the outer lobe.

Sympatry: V. cerambonensis (on Buru)

Distribution: see map in Somma & Koch 2012. Weijola and Sweet (2015) argue that the species on Ambon, Seram, Buru, and Saparua is all V. indicus). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym in genitive singular. The new species is dedicated to Dr. Rainer Günther, Curator of herpetology at the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin to acknowledge his long-term and outstanding taxonomic research on the herpetofauna of Indonesia (New Guinea) in particular and of South East Asia in general. See Lötters (2010) for a biographical sketch of R. Günther. 
References
  • Grabbe, Julian 2014. Erster Nachweis von Parthenogenese bei Varanus rainerguentheri, einem Pazifikwaran aus der indicus-Gruppe. Terraria Elaphe 2014 (6): 38-42 - get paper here
  • 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, 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
  • Lötters, S. 2010. Was macht eigentlich ... Dr. Rainer Günther?. Elaphe 18 (1): 102
  • Setiadi, M. I. & A. Hamidy, 2006. Jenis-Jenis Herpetofauna di Pulau Halmahera. Kerjasama antara Pusat Studi Biodiversitas dan Konservasi Universitas Indonesia dan Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Puslit Biologi Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia. - get paper here
  • Somma, M. & A. Koch 2012. New morphological and distributional data on Varanus rainerguentheri (Squamata: Varanidae), an endemic and little-known monitor lizard species of the Moluccas, Indonesia. Salamandra 48 (4): 207-212 - 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
  • Weijola, V.S.A. 2010. Geographical Distribution and Habitat Use of Monitor Lizards of the North Moluccas. Biawak 4 (1): 7-23 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, Thomas; Wolfgang Böhme, Andreas Schmitz 2007. A new species of the Varanus indicus group (Squamata, Varanidae) from Halmahera Island, Moluccas: morphological and molecular evidence. Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin 83 (S1): 109-119
 
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