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Varanus spinulosus MERTENS, 1941

IUCN Red List - Varanus spinulosus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Solomon Island Spiny Monitor 
SynonymVaranus indicus spinulosus MERTENS 1941: 269
Varanus spinulosus — SPRACKLAND 1994
Varanus spinulosus — DE LISLE 1996: 130
Varanus spinulosus — AST 2001
Varanus spinulosus — KOCH et al. 2010
Varanus (Solomonsaurus) spinulosus — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionSanta Isabel Island, San Jorge Islands (Solomon Islands), Papua New Guinea (Bougainville)

Type locality: George Island near Ysabel, Solomon Islands.  
TypesHolotype: NMW 23387 (formerly NMW 3709). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (Solomonsaurus): Solomonsaurus is a subgenus of monitor lizards endemic to the Solomon Islands, which is uniquely defined by the following combination of morphological characters: (1) The body is covered with relatively small scales resulting, for instance, in a high number (>200) of scale rows around midbody (Mertens 1941, 1942a; Böhme & Ziegler 2007); (2) in addition, the small body scales are strongly conical and highly keeled particularly on the dorsal and lateral side and even the little granules surrounding each scale exhibit a conical shape. This scalation feature is only found in V. spinulosus and gives this species its unique scale texture which is also reflected in its name (spinulosus lat. = spiny, this study, see Figs. 63–64); (3) a distinct dorsal colour pattern consisting of three to four transverse rows of large solid yellow spots (the anterior two of which tend to dissolve into light broad transverse bands) on a dark background colouration (see Dwyer 2008; McCoy 2006); (4) relatively large eyes of so far unknown ecological significance (see Eidenmüller & Philippen 2008:61); (5) symmetrically built hemipenes that are characterised by 9–10 paryphasman rows on the asulcal side and two clearly mineralized hemibacula, the outer of which is more robustly built than the inner, emerging from the apical platform (Böhme & Ziegler 2007); and (7) an isolated basal molecular phylogenetic position within varanids (Schmitz et al., cited as in prep. ibyn Bucklitsch et al. 2016). 
CommentType species: Varanus spinulosus is the type species of the subgenus Solomonsaurus Bucklitsch et al. 2016. 
  • Ast, Jennifer C. 2001. Mitochondrial DNA Evidence and Evolution in Varanoidea (Squamata). Cladistics 17 (3): 211-226 [erratum in 18 (1):125] - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. & Koch, A. 2010. On the type selection and re-typification of two monitor lizard taxa (Squamata: Varanidae): Monitor bivittatus celebensis Schlegel, 1844 and Monitor kordensis Meyer, 1874; with some comments and corrections on other name-bearing type specimens. Zootaxa 2440: 60–68 - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. & Ziegler, T. 2007. Notes on the Distribution, Diet, Hemipenis Morphology and Systematics of Varanus spinulosus Mertens, 1941. Mertensiella 16: 100-108
  • BUCKLITSCH, YANNICK; WOLFGANG BÖHME, ANDRÉ KOCH 2016. Scale Morphology and Micro-Structure of Monitor Lizards (Squamata: Varanidae: Varanus spp.) and their Allies: Implications for Systematics, Ecology, and Conservation. . Zootaxa 4153 (1): 001–192 - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Lisle, H.F. de 1996. Natural History of Monitor Lizards. Krieger, Malabar (Florida)
  • McCoy, M. 2006. Reptiles of the Solomon Islands. Pensoft Series Faunistica 57, 212 pp.
  • McCoy, M. 2015. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of the Solomon Islands. Michael McCoy, Kuranda - get paper here
  • Mertens, R. 1941. Zwei neue Warane des australischen Fauenengebietes. Senckenbergiana 23: 266-272
  • Pianka, E. R. and D. R. King, eds. 2004. Varanoid Lizards of the World. Indiana University Press, 599 pp - get paper here
  • Sprackland, R. G. 1994. Rediscovery and taxonomic review of Varanus indicus spinulosus Mertens, 1941. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 24 (2), 33-38. - get paper here
  • Sprackland, Robert George 1993. Rediscovery of Solomon Islands monitor lizard (Varanus indicus spinulosus) Mertens, 1941. Vivarium 4 (5): 25-27 - get paper here
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