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Varanus telenesetes SPRACKLAND, 1991

IUCN Red List - Varanus telenesetes - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaVaranidae, Platynota, Varanoidea, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymVaranus prasinus CZECHURA 1980: 103 (part.)
Varanus telenestes SPRACKLAND 1991: 569
Varanus telenestes — DE LISLE 1996: 130
Varanus telenesetes — BÖHME 2002
Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) telenesetes — ZIEGLER et al. 2007
Varanus (Hapturosaurus) telenesetes — BUCKLITSCH et al. 2016: 50 
DistributionRossel Islands, Papua New Guinea

Type locality: Roussel (= Rossel) Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.  
TypesHolotype: QM J1190. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Similar to V. prasinus from which it differs in having light, not black, palmar surfaces, smooth ventral scales, and a mottled ventral pattern.

“Eidenmüller and Philippen (2008: 62) depicted the holotype specimen of V. telenesetes. In contrast to the original description by Sprackland (1991), the holotype is not “similar to V. prasinus” in being green dorsally with indistinct dark chevrons, but instead it is unicolored dark grey and, thus, largely resembles the type specimen of V. bogerti (Mertens 1950). Only the head of the holotype specimen was black and white depicted by Sprackland (1991). This author also incorrectly claimed that Mertens (1959) had examined a specimen from Rossel Island, which he identified as V. (prasinus) bogerti.
By contrast, Sprackland (1991) asserted that the holotype of V. telenesetes “bears no resemblence [sic] to bogerti” and, “aside from the distinct colouration,” mentioned some further morphological differences to distinguish both tree monitor taxa. However, in the cladogram presented by Sprackland (1991), V. bogerti and V. telenesetes are revealed as sister taxa. Because of these taxonomic uncertainties, it is reasonable to suggest that V. telenesetes may actually represent a junior synonym of V. bogerti Mertens, 1950. Re- examination of the type specimens of both rare monitor lizard taxa seems necessary to resolve this question” [cited from Koch et al. 2013]. 
CommentDistribution: The species could not be recorded on Rossel Island (F. Kraus, pers. comm. in De Lisle 2009). Therefore, the type locality is probably an error but V. telenesetes might occur on other islands in the Louisiade Archipelago (De Lisle 2009).

Abundance: only known from the type specimen (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyFrom Greek “tele” = far, and “nesetes” = island dweller, refering to its occurrence at the easternmost point of New Guinea, 330 km from the nearest tree monitor population. 
  • Böhme,W. 2003. Checklist of the living monitor lizards of the world (family Varanidae). Zoologische Verhandelingen 341: 6-43 - get paper here
  • Czechura, G. V. 1980. The emerald monitor Varanus prasinus (Schlegel): an addition to the Australian mainland herpetofauna. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 20: 103-109 - get paper here
  • Koch A, Ziegler T, Böhme W, Arida E, Auliya M. 2013. Pressing Problems: Distribution, Threats, and Conservation Status of the Monitor Lizards (Varanidae: Varanus spp.) of Southeast Asia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Herp. Cons. Biol. 8 (Monograph 3): 1 − 62. - get paper here
  • Koch, Andre; Ernst, Nicole; Eidenmuller, Bernd; Kraus, Fred 2014. New data on the rare Varanus bogerti Mertens, 1950 and V. telenesetes Sprackland, 1991 (Squamata: Varanidae), two endemic monitor lizard taxa from island groups off southeastern New Guinea. The Herpetological Journal 24 (2): 111-122 - get paper here
  • Lisle, H.F. de 1996. Natural History of Monitor Lizards. Krieger, Malabar (Florida)
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Sprackland, R. G. 1991. Taxonomic review of the Varanus prasinus group with descriptions of two new species. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 30 (3): 561-576. - get paper here
  • Ziegler, T., Schmitz, A., Koch, A. & W. Böhme 2007. A review of the subgenus Euprepiosaurus of Varanus (Squamata: Varanidae): morphological and molecular phylogeny, distribution and zoogeography, with an identification key for the members of the V. indicus and the V. prasinus species groups. Zootaxa 1472: 1-28 - get paper here
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