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Varanus rasmusseni KOCH, GAULKE & BÖHME, 2010

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymVaranus rasmusseni KOCH, GAULKE & BÖHME 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) rasmusseni — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) rasmusseni — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionPhilippines (Sulu Archipelago)

Type locality: Tarawakan, north of Batu–Batu, Tawi–Tawi Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines.  
Reproductionoviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: ZMUC R42151 (field number E141, Figs. 19–21), an adult male collected by the Noona Dan Expedition, 13.XI.1961. Paratype. ZFMK 89391 (formerly ZMUC R42153, field number E136, Figs. 22–24), a juvenile with the same locality data as the holotype; also collected by the Noona Dan Expedition, 27.X.1961 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A new species of monitor lizard clearly assignable to the V. salvator complex, which is characterized by high scale counts in general, (1) particularly around the tail at its base (character Q = 112– 117, mean = 114.50), (2) after one third of its length (character R = 57–60, mean = 58.50), (3) as well as around midbody (character S = 152–157, mean = 154.50), (4) round the neck (character m = 120–129, mean = 124.50), and (5) along the ventral side (character TN = 183–187, mean = 185.00). For remaining scalation features we refer to Table 3. In addition, the colour pattern of the juvenile and adult type specimens distinguishes the Tawi–Tawi monitor lizards from all other known water monitor populations. In the juvenile paratype, (6) the salvator-typical dorsal colour pattern is replaced by a finely spotted pattern of small bright dots arranged in about twelve indistinct transverse rows between the fore and the hind limbs. Ventrally, (7) the juvenile paratype specimen shows about eleven dark crossbands between the fore and hind limbs and (8) distinctive dark spots on the throat. The adult holotype (9) has a melanistic appearance mottled with many single bright or marginally bright scales lacking any distinct dorsal colour pattern, (10) a dark belly with indistinctive bright median bars, and (11) a dark throat with little bright mottling. 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. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet rasmusseni is a patronym honouring the late Jens B. Rasmussen (1947– 2005), herpetologist at the Zoological Museum of the University of Copenhagen (ZMUC), Denmark, since 1977, for his significant contributions to herpetology in general, and for his support of this discipline at the Copenhagen Museum. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang 2014. Herpetology in Bonn. Mertensiella 21. vi + 256 pp. - 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; 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
  • Sy, Emerson Y. and Romulo Quemado. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Varanus rasmusseni (Rasmussen's water monitor lizard). Herpetological Review 45 (3): 464 - 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
  • 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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