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Varanus togianus (PETERS, 1872)

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymMonitor (Hydrosaurus) togianus PETERS 1872: 582
Varanus togianus — BOULENGER 1885: 316
Varanus togianus — DE ROOIJ 1915: 147
Varanus salvator togianus — MERTENS 1941: 272
Varanus salvator togianus — BAUER et al. 1995: 67
Varanus cf. togianus — KOCH & ACCIAIOLI 2007
Varanus togianus — KOCH et al. 2007
Varanus (Soterosaurus) togianus — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) togianus — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionTogian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Type locality: “Togian-Inseln (Timotto)” [Indonesia]  
TypesLectotype: ZMB 7388 (designated by MERTENS 1942) 
CommentThe melanistic taxon togianus is a member of the V. salvator complex, characterized by the combination of (1) a dark (in preservative dark brown, in life black) dorsal background colour with dark scales more or less encircled by light brown to orange granula forming light distal margins; (2) lacking any spots or ocelli dorsally; (3) a unicoloured dark tail without light crossbands; (4) a dark coloured ventral side with distinctive yellowish rectangles on the chin and throat; (5) more than ten indistinct light crossbands on the belly; and (6) large (ventral) scales mirrored by the presence of OTU 14 in cluster I (i.e. lowest mean values) of nine in thirteen parameters (P, Q, S, T, N, TN, U, c and m). For pholidotic characters S, T, N, TN, and m these monitor lizards reveal the lowest mean scale counts on the ventral side among all taxa under investigation. The remaining diagnostic feature is the double mean head length relative to its width (index 10: 1.78-2.29, x = 2.05, s = 0.19). All other taxa have a shorter mean head length (index 10: x < 2.00). [from KOCH et al. 2007]. 
Etymologynamed after its type locality. 
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • de Rooij, N. de 1915. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. I. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 384 pp. - get paper here
  • Even, E. 2009. Neuer Nachweis für drei Schlangenarten für die Togian-Inseln, Sulawesi. Elaphe 17 (1): 56-59
  • FRÝDLOVÁ, PETRA and DANIEL FRYNTA 2010. A test of Rensch’s rule in varanid lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 293–306 - get paper here
  • GLÄSSER-TROBISCH, A. & TROBISCH, D. 2020. Begegnungen mit Hydrosaurus & Co. in der Wallacea. Teil 1: Drachen im Reich der Schmetterlinge – Sulawesi Sauria 42 (3): 1-25 - 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. 2012. Discovery, Diversity, and Distribution of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi and its offshore islands. Edition Chimaira, 374 pp. [ISBN 978-3-89973-432-4] - get paper here
  • KOCH, A. and G. ACCIAIOLI 2007. The Monitor Twins: A Bugis and Makassarese Tradition from SW Sulawesi, Indonesia. Biawak 1 (2): 77-82 - get paper here
  • Koch, A., Auliya, M; Schmitz, A.; Kuch, U. & Böhme, W. 2007. Morphological studies on the systematics of south east Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex): nominotypic populations and taxonomic overview. Mertensiella 16:109-180
  • Koch, Andre 2008. Sulawesis Herpetofauna: Unterschätzte Vielfalt in einer bewegten Umwelt. Terraria (13): 34-37
  • Koch, André & Evy Arida 2017. A coconut-eating monitor lizard? On an unusual case of frugivory in the melanistic Sulawesi water monitor (Varanus togianus). Herpetological Bulletin (139): 41-42 - 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
  • Mertens, R. 1942. Die Familie der Warane (Varanidae), 3. Teil: Taxonomie. Abh. Senckenb. naturf. Ges., 466: 235-391
  • Mertens, R. 1959. Liste der Warane Asiens und der indo-australischen Inselwelt mit systematischen Bemerkungen. Senckenbergiana biologica 40: 221-240
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1872. Über einige von Hrn. Dr. A. B. Meyer bei Gorontalo und Auf den Togian-Inseln gesammelte Amphibien. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1872 (Juli): 581-585 - get paper here
  • Weber, M. 1890. Reptilia from the Malay Archipelago. 1. Sauria, Crocodylidae, Chelonia. In: Zoologische Ergebnisse einer Reise in Niederländisch Ost-Indien 1: 158-177. M. Weber (Ed.). E. J. Brill, Leiden. - 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
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