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Varanus nesterovi BÖHME, EHRLICH, MILTO, ORLOV & SCHOLZ, 2015

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Nesterov’s desert monitor
G: Nesterovs Wüstenwaran 
SynonymVaranus nesterovi BÖHME, EHRLICH, MILTO, ORLOV & SCHOLZ 2015
Varanus griseus — TUCK 1971: 60 (part.) (not of DAUDIN 1803)
Varanus griseus caspius — MERTENS 1973: 234 (part.) (not EICHWALD 1823)
Varanus griseus caspius — FATHINIA et al. 2009: pl. 6f (part.)
Varanus (Psammosaurus) nesterovi — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionIraq - Iran border area

Type locality: “Biare,” currently Byara Village, Muhafazat as Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (35°13’50’’ N 46°07’15’’ E), 1086 m elevation.  
Reproductionoviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: ZISP 23300, collected by P. V. Nesterov, on 8 June 1914 (Figs. 3, 9, and 10). Paratypes. ZISP 11752.1 and 11752.2, Abu-naft River near Nawtkhana Village, DiyalaGMandali, Iraq (approx. 34°06’26.9’’ N 45°32’58.4’’ E), collected by P. V. Nesterov, on 19 April 1914. USNM 160302, 35 km E of Gachsaran, Khuzistan Province, Iran (30°12’ N 50°47’ E), western foothills of Zagros Mts., collected by R. G. Tuck, on 11 February 1964. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A big-growing representative of the Psammosaurus section of Varanus (total length up to 120 cm) which is readily distinguished from V. griseus (in parentheses the conditions in V. griseus ssp.) by (1) its broader and shorter head with a convex profile (vs. straight or anteriorly concave head profile); (2) nostril roundish to vertically oval, not just in front of eye (Figs. 1, 7, and 10) (vs. nostril shaped as an oblique slit narrowing anteriorly and situated closer to the eye); (3) neck scalation of strongly enlarged, spine-like scales, strongest on the sides of the neck, which may even form recurved spines (Figs. 1, 2, and 7) (vs. moderately to weakly enlarged tubercles in the same region); (4) dorsal side uniformly sand-colored, without well visible dark crossbands, with only rudimentary and indis- tinct traces of a dark pattern at best (Figs. 5 and 6) (vs. normally with distinct dark crossbands and/or lighter flecks on a darker ground) and (5) tail laterally compressed with a distinct dorsal keel for nearly the entire tail length, and indistinct crossbands only in the proximal half of tail, the remain- ing tail being uniformly yellowish (Figs. 5, 6, 8, and 11) (vs. a tail being round in cross section with distinct crossbanding throughout tail length in V. g. griseus, with the tendency of tail ring fusion towards a blackish distal part of tail; or a slightly compressed tail in the distalmost part only which is uniformly yellowish and patternless in V. g. caspius and in V. g. koniecznyi).
CommentDistribution: see map in BÖHME et al. 2015: 48. 
EtymologyNamed after its first discoverer, Petr Vladimirovich Nesterov (1883 – 1941, Fig. 15) who had recognized already its specific distinctness and even had coined already a name for it — unfortunately never published due to the political chaos between the outbreak of World War I and World War II which affected his life severely and lastly even led to his tragic death in an Estonian NKVD prison (Adler, 2012). For biographical data see Doronin 2022. 
  • Adler, K. (ed.) 2012. Contributions to the history of herpetology, Vol 3. SSAR Contributions to Herpetology
  • BARABANOV, ANDREI & KONSTANTIN MILTO 2017. An annotated type catalogue of the anguid, dibamid, scincid and varanid lizards in the Department of Herpetology, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia (Reptilia: Sauria: Anguidae, Dibamidae, Scincidae and Varanida Zootaxa 4244 (1): 065–078 - get paper here
  • BÖHME, W. 2017. Wiederfund von Nesterovs Wüstenwaran, Varanus nesterovi Böhme, Ehrlich, Milto, Orlov & Scholz, 2014 (Squamata: Varanidae) im Irak. Sauria 39 (3): 57-62 - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang; Klaus Ehrlich, Konstantin Milto, Nikolay Orlov, Sebastian Scholz 2015. A New Species of Desert Monitor Lizard (Varanidae: Varanus: Psammosaurus) from the Western Zagros Region (Iraq, Iran). Russ. J. Herpetol. 22 (1): 41-52 - get paper here
  • Doronin I. V. 2022. New data on some Russian herpetologists. Communication 4. [in Russian] Current Studies in Herpetology 22 (1-2): 52 - get paper here
  • Kamali, Kamran 2020. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Iran. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany ( 574 pp.
  • Kwet, Axel 2015. Im wilden Kurdistan – ein spektakulärer Großwaran aus dem Zagros-Gebirge. Terraria-Elaphe 2015 (4): 52-53 - get paper here
  • Mertens R. 1973. Zur Kenntnis des iranischen Wüstenwarans, Varanus griseus. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 24, 233 – 236 - get paper here
  • Tuck, R.G., Jr. 1971. Amphibians and reptiles from Iran in the United States National Museum Collection. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 7(3): 48-86. - 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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