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A new blue-tailed Monitor lizard (Reptilia, Squamata, Varanus) of the Varanus indicus group from Mussau Island, Papua New Guinea.

Weijola V, Donnellan SC, Lindqvist C - Zookeys (2016)

Bottom Line: It is the third species of Varanus reported from the Bismarck Archipelago and the first record of a yellow tongued member of the Varanus indicus species group from a remote oceanic island.The herpetofauna of Mussau Island has not been well studied but the discovery of this new species is in accordance with recent findings indicating that the island may harbor several unknown endemic vertebrates.The distribution of the closely related Varanus finschi is also discussed in the light of recent fieldwork and a review of old records.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Zoological Museum, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland (VW).

ABSTRACT
We describe a new species of Varanus from Mussau Island, north-east of New Guinea. The new species is a member of the Varanus indicus species group and is distinguished from all other members by both morphological and molecular genetic characters. It is the third species of Varanus reported from the Bismarck Archipelago and the first record of a yellow tongued member of the Varanus indicus species group from a remote oceanic island. The herpetofauna of Mussau Island has not been well studied but the discovery of this new species is in accordance with recent findings indicating that the island may harbor several unknown endemic vertebrates. The distribution of the closely related Varanus finschi is also discussed in the light of recent fieldwork and a review of old records.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Typical vegetation of coastal karst areas of Mussau Island where several Varanussemotus were observed (photo by VW).
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Figure 7: Typical vegetation of coastal karst areas of Mussau Island where several Varanussemotus were observed (photo by VW).

Mentions: A total of 16 observations were made during fieldwork on Mussau, all of them along the coast near the village of Nai at the SE corner of the island. Searches in the secondary growth forest of the interior of the island and in the mangrove forests near Palakau did not produce any observations. The relatively dry coastal vegetation near Nai comprises a mixture of coconut palms, pandanus and other trees and shrubs able to persist in the karst, limestone and salt spray affected area (Fig. 6). In this vegetation type monitors appeared to be relatively common. Just south of the village there is a freshwater spring with a small area of Sago palms which was also a popular site for monitors. The lizards were usually spotted either as they were foraging on the ground and quickly fled up in trees, or while they were basking on the trunks of palms or other trees. The specimens collected as vouchers were noosed from trees with a long pole. As is typical of the closely related Varanusdoreanus, Varanusfinschi and Varanusyuwonoi the specimens were exceedingly aggressive and inclined to bite when captured and handled. Stomach content analysis of the three ZMUT specimens revealed a total of five reptile eggs (3,2,0) and one small skink. All stomachs contained the remains of crabs. Philipp et al. (2007) recorded a bird as the stomach content of ZMUC 4272.


A new blue-tailed Monitor lizard (Reptilia, Squamata, Varanus) of the Varanus indicus group from Mussau Island, Papua New Guinea.

Weijola V, Donnellan SC, Lindqvist C - Zookeys (2016)

Typical vegetation of coastal karst areas of Mussau Island where several Varanussemotus were observed (photo by VW).
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons-attribution
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4829673&req=5

Figure 7: Typical vegetation of coastal karst areas of Mussau Island where several Varanussemotus were observed (photo by VW).
Mentions: A total of 16 observations were made during fieldwork on Mussau, all of them along the coast near the village of Nai at the SE corner of the island. Searches in the secondary growth forest of the interior of the island and in the mangrove forests near Palakau did not produce any observations. The relatively dry coastal vegetation near Nai comprises a mixture of coconut palms, pandanus and other trees and shrubs able to persist in the karst, limestone and salt spray affected area (Fig. 6). In this vegetation type monitors appeared to be relatively common. Just south of the village there is a freshwater spring with a small area of Sago palms which was also a popular site for monitors. The lizards were usually spotted either as they were foraging on the ground and quickly fled up in trees, or while they were basking on the trunks of palms or other trees. The specimens collected as vouchers were noosed from trees with a long pole. As is typical of the closely related Varanusdoreanus, Varanusfinschi and Varanusyuwonoi the specimens were exceedingly aggressive and inclined to bite when captured and handled. Stomach content analysis of the three ZMUT specimens revealed a total of five reptile eggs (3,2,0) and one small skink. All stomachs contained the remains of crabs. Philipp et al. (2007) recorded a bird as the stomach content of ZMUC 4272.

Bottom Line: It is the third species of Varanus reported from the Bismarck Archipelago and the first record of a yellow tongued member of the Varanus indicus species group from a remote oceanic island.The herpetofauna of Mussau Island has not been well studied but the discovery of this new species is in accordance with recent findings indicating that the island may harbor several unknown endemic vertebrates.The distribution of the closely related Varanus finschi is also discussed in the light of recent fieldwork and a review of old records.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Zoological Museum, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland (VW).

ABSTRACT
We describe a new species of Varanus from Mussau Island, north-east of New Guinea. The new species is a member of the Varanus indicus species group and is distinguished from all other members by both morphological and molecular genetic characters. It is the third species of Varanus reported from the Bismarck Archipelago and the first record of a yellow tongued member of the Varanus indicus species group from a remote oceanic island. The herpetofauna of Mussau Island has not been well studied but the discovery of this new species is in accordance with recent findings indicating that the island may harbor several unknown endemic vertebrates. The distribution of the closely related Varanus finschi is also discussed in the light of recent fieldwork and a review of old records.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus