Varanus douarrha (LESSON, 1830)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Varanus douarrha?
|Higher Taxa||Varanidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||E: New Ireland Monitor|
|Synonym||Monitor douarrha LESSON 1830: 53|
Varanus douarrha — WEIJOLA et al. 2017
Varanus indicus — BOULENGER 1885: 316
Varanus indicus douarrha — MERTENS 1926: 275
Varanus indicus — MERTENS 1942: 263
|Distribution||Papua New Guinea (New Ireland)|
Type locality: Praslin Harbour, New Ireland (as New Mecklenberg), Papua New Guinea
|Types||Neotype: UAZM (given as ZMUT, Turku, Finland) Sa185, collected by Valter Weijola on 27 September 2012, ~1 km south of Kumium village on the south-west coast of New Ireland (-4.187°S, 152.690°E)|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: In addition to molecular genetic characters, V. douarrha can be distinguished from other members of the V. indicus group by its unique combination of the following colour-pattern and scalation characters: (1) dorsum black, with more-or-less distinct transverse rows of yellow spots and ocelli; (2) gular region cream to yellow-orange and generally marbled with grey-black markings; (3) tongue pink with grey pigmentation on the tines and sometimes on the distal part of the trunk, in rare cases extending to midlength; (4) midbody (S) scale rows 129–153, mean 140.9; and (5) dorsal (XY) scale rows 120–147, mean 136 (Weijola et al. 2017).|
|Comment||Synonymy: Without providing a justification, the name M. douarrha was regarded as a junior synonym of V. indicus by Boulenger (1885).|
Distribution: V. douarrha is geographically restricted to the islands of New Ireland province except the St Matthias group (Weijola et al. 2017).
|Etymology||According to Lesson, the specific name douarrha was the local word for this species in Port Praslin. During fieldwork on New Ireland in 2012 VW interviewed a native speaker of the Siar-Lak language, which is what is spoken at Port Praslin. According to this local informant, the Siar-Lak word for ‘monitor’ is ‘kailam’. The word for the emerald tree skink, Lamprolepis smaragdina, is ‘dawar’, and it is possible that the words for these different species were confused by Lesson or that the application of local names has changed since his visit. Given current orthography for Siar-Lak (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siar-Lak_language), it is clear that Lesson’s name was intended as a translitteration into French of the Siar-Lak name as he heard it. Words in Siar-Lak have the accent placed on the final syllable; hence, the name should be pronounced ‘dwah-rah’ (Weijola et al. 2017).|
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