Varanus samarensis Koch et al. 2010

Welton, Luke J., Travers, Scott L., Siler, Cameron D. & Brown, Rafe M., 2014, Integrative taxonomy and phylogeny-based species delimitation of Philippine water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator Complex) with descriptions of two new cryptic species, Zootaxa 3881 (3), pp. 201-227 : 221

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Varanus samarensis Koch et al. 2010


Varanus samarensis Koch et al. 2010

Synonymy. Varanus cumingi samarensis Koch et al., 2010 . Zootaxa 2446, 19 – 23.

Holotype.— ZFMK 64713, subadult male, collected by M. Gaulke 1989, San Augustin near Gandara, Samar Island, Philippines.

New material examined.—Samar (1 specimen): KU 310870 View Materials ( CDS Field No. 2654), adult male, collected by Cameron D. Siler, 13 October 2007, Barangay San Rafael, Municipality of Taft, Eastern Samar Province, Samar Island, Philippines; Bohol (1 specimen): KU 335263 View Materials ( CDS Field No. 4768), adult male, collected by Cameron D. Siler, 0 4 August 2009, Barangay Danicop, Municipality of Sierra Bullones, Bohol Province, Bohol Island, Philippines.

Other material. —Refer to Koch et al. (2010 b).

Diagnosis. —Following the findings of Koch et al. (2010 b), Varanus samarensis can be distinguished from other members of the V. salvator Complex by a combination of (1) distinctive dorsal color pattern of 5–8 transverse bands of yellow ocelli or spots through the trunk; (2) a dark (black) head dorsally, with symmetrical yellow markings; (3) a variable black stripe in the temporal region, occasionally bordered by a bright (yellow-white) stripe ventrally; (4) the absence of a medio-dorsal stripe on the lateral surfaces of the nuchal region and trunk; (5) narial openings positioned approximately 2.5 times closer to the tip of the snout than to the ocular.

Comment and justification. —Although within the same PAIC ( Brown & Diesmos 2009), the Samar–Leyte versus Mindanao Island biogeographical boundary (informally referred to as the “Dinagat–Caraga Filter Zone”) has been evoked in several previous studies to explain the existence of deep phylogenetic splits between the northern and southern reaches of the Mindanao faunal region ( Steppan et al. 2003; Hosner et al. 2013, 2014; Brown et al. 2013, 2014). We therefore do not find it surprising that Samar, Leyte, Bohol (and, presumably, smaller associated lanmasses) have a distinctive species of monitor lizard that apparently is isolated from Mindanao’s Varanus cumingi ( Welton et al. 2013 a, b).

Distribution. —See Koch et al. (2010 b) for additional data about variation, ecology, and distribution.


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