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Varanus bushi APLIN, FITCH & KING, 2006

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Pilbara Mulga Goanna 
SynonymVaranus bushi APLIN, FITCH & KING 2006
Varanus bushi — EIDENMÜLLER 2007
Varanus (Odatria) bushi — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Odatria) bushi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionAustralia (Pilbara region)

Type locality: Marandoo, Western Australia in 22° 37’ S 118° 08’ E  
TypesHolotype: WAM R108999, adult male. Collected on 20 June 1991 by Greg Harold 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-bodied member of the subgenus Odatria distinguished from most others by the combination of a longitudinally striped and only moderately spinose tail, unkeeled head and body scales, non-overlapping ventral primary scales, and an absence of longitudinal streaks on throat. Distinguished from V. gilleni by its slightly lesser average size, more elongate dorsal scales, more densely spotted venter and more irregularly spotted dorsum, less prominent linear patterning on the head and neck, and its more numerous presacral vertebrae, pedal subdigital lamellae and ventral scales. Males are further distinguished from V. gilleni by having hemipenes with an undivided inner hemibaculum. Distinguished from V. caudolineatus by its slightly greater average and maximum size, proportionally shorter fore- and hind-limbs, more elongate snout, higher average midbody and ventral scale counts, higher average sub-digital lamellar counts on pes, more finely scaled and less rugose proximal portion of the tail, more numerous presacral vertebrae, less conspicuously spotted head, more orderly alignment of dorsal pattern into transverse rows, and presence of transverse bands on the basal one-third of the tail. Males are further distinguished from V. caudolineatus by having a shorter hemipenis with more numerous papillose distal frills. 
CommentSimilar species: V. caudolineatus and V. gilleni. The three species are closely related.

Sympatry: V. caudolineatus at several localities. It is more widely separated from known populations of V. gilleni.

Habitat: The new species is associated with mulga woodland and is at least partially arboreal, but little else is known of its ecology.

Sexual dimorphism: in all three species, including relative body elongation in females that is reflected in higher modal presacral vertebral counts in females than males of each species. Body elongation of females needs to be taken into account in future analyses of sexual dimorphism in varanid lizards. 
EtymologyWe take pleasure in naming this species after naturalist and educator Brian Bush who has contributed enormously to our knowledge of the herpetofauna of Western Australia and of the Pilbara region in particular. 
  • Aplin, K.P.; Fitch, A.J. & King, D.J. 2006. A new species of Varanus Merrem (Squamata: Varanidae) from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with observations on sexual dimorphism in closely related species. Zootaxa 1313: 1–38 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Eidenmüller, B. 2007. Kleinwarane im Terrarium. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (63): 16-23 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. 2007. Small monitors in the terrarium. Reptilia (GB) (50): 12-19 - get paper here
  • Ellis, R. 2016. Varanus bushi (Bush's Monitor) diet. Herpetological Review 47(3): 470. - get paper here
  • Ellis, R.J. 2018. An annotated type catalogue of varanid lizards (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanidae) in the collection of the Western Australian Museum. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 33:187-194, DOI: 10.18195/issn.0312-3162.33(2).2018.187-194 - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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