Varanus rasmusseni KOCH, GAULKE & BÖHME, 2010
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|Higher Taxa||Varanidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Synonym||Varanus rasmusseni KOCH, GAULKE & BÖHME 2010|
Varanus (Soterosaurus) rasmusseni — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Soterosaurus) rasmusseni — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50
|Distribution||Philippines (Sulu Archipelago)|
Type locality: Tarawakan, north of Batu–Batu, Tawi–Tawi Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines.
|Types||Holotype: 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|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. 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.|
|Etymology||The 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.|
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