Heading East: a New Subspecies of Varanus salvator from Obi Island, Maluku Province, Indonesia, with a Discussion about the Easternmost Natural Occurrence of Southeast Asian Water Monitor Lizards

André Koch, Wolfgang Böhme

Abstract


The Varanus salvator population from the Central Indonesian island of Obi, Maluku Province, is described as a new subspecies representing the most easterly confirmed occurrence of the widespread Southeast Asian water monitor lizard. The new taxon differs from the four recognized subspecies by unique characters of coloration and pattern such as a distinct dorsal pattern on the head in combination with reduced transverse rows on the anterior back which stand in contrast to the distinct and black-bordered, large light spots on the hind part of the body. In addition, the eastern border of the distribution range of the V. salvator complex is critically discussed in the light of historical voucher specimens from the Moluccas, New Guinea and even Australia. The Obi island record which had long been published but has never since been scrutinized, confirms the recently observed sympatric occurrence of members of the V. salvator and V. indicus species groups on several islands of the Moluccas. Further field investigations are needed to understand the different niche occupation between both these ecologically similar monitor lizard groups. Once more, our findings demonstrate the importance of the Central Indonesian islands of Wallacea as a global hotspot of varanid diversity and endemism.


Keywords


Wallacea; Moluccas; Reptilia; Squamata; Varanidae; Varanus salvator ziegleri ssp. nov.; conservation; systematics; biogeography

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bleeker P. (1856), Reis door de Minahassa en den Molukschen archipel. Gedaan in de maanden september en oktober 1855 in het gevolg van den Gouverneur Generaal Mr. A. J. Duymaer van Twist, Lange & Co., Batavia (Jakarta).

Bleeker P. (1857), «Berigt omtrent eenige Reptilien van Sumatra, Borneo, Batjan en Boero», Natuurk. Tijdsch. Nederl.-Indië, 13, 470 – 475.

Bleeker P. (1860a), «Over de Reptilien-fauna van Ceram», Natuurk. Tijdsch. Nederl.-Indië, 22, 35 – 38.

Bleeker P. (1860b), «Over de Reptilien-fauna van Amboina», Natuurk. Tijdsch. Nederl.-Indië, 22, 39 – 43.

Böhme W. (2003), Checklist of the living monitor lizards of the Word (family Varanidae)», Zool. Verhand., 341, 3 – 43.

Böhme W. and Ziegler T. (1997), «Varanus melinus sp. n., ein neuer Waran aus der V. indicus-Gruppe von den Molukken, Indonesien», Herpetofauna, 19, 26 – 34.

Böhme W. and Ziegler T. (2005), «A new monitor lizard from Halmahera, Moluccas, Indonesia (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanidae)», Salamandra, 41(1/2), 51 – 59.

Böhme W., Horn H.-G., and Ziegler T. (1994), «Zur Taxonomie der Pazifikwarane (Varanus indicus-Komplex): Revalidierung von Varanus doreanus (A. B. Meyer, 1874) mit Beschreibung einer neuen Unterart», Salamandra, 30(2), 119 – 142.

Boulenger G. A. (1885), Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume II. Iguanidae, Xenosauridae, Zonuridae, Anguidae, Anniellidae, Helodermatidae, Varanidae, Xantusiidae, Teiidae, Amphisbaenidae, Taylor and Francis, London.

Brandenburg T. (1983), Monitors in the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Unpubl. MSc. Thesis, University of Leiden, Leiden.

Bustard H. R. (1970), Australian Lizards, Collins, Sydney.

CITES (2009), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, www.cites.org, on-line database.

Cogger H. G., Cameron E. E., and Cogger H. M. (1983), Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 1. Amphibians and reptiles, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Cotes B. J. and Bishop K. D. (1997), A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea: Sulawesi, the Moluccas, and the Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia, Dove Publications.

de Rooij N. (1915), The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago, E. J. Brill, Leiden.

Edgar P. W. and Lilley R. P. H. (1987), «Herpetofauna survey of Manusela National Park», in: Edwards I. D., MacDonald A. A., and Proctor J. (eds.), Natural History of Seram. Intercept, Andover, pp. 131 – 142.

Eidenmüller B. (2009), Warane. Lebensweise, Pflege, Zucht, Herpeton Publishing Elke Köhler, Offenbach.

Gordon A. L. and Fine R. A. (2005), «Pathways of water between the Pacific and Indian oceans in the Indonesian seas», Nature, 379, 146 – 149.

Harvey M. B. and Barker D. G. (1998), «A new species of blue-tailed monitor lizard (genus Varanus) from Halmahera Island, Indonesia», Herpetologica, 54(1), 34 – 44.

Heinroth O. (1902), «Ornithologische Ergebnisse der I. Deutschen Südsee Expedition von Br. Mencke», J. Ornithol., 50, 390 – 457.

Hennessy J. (2010), «Parthenogenesis in an Ornate Nile Monitor, Varanus ornatus», Biawak, 4(1), 26 – 30.

How R. A. and Kitchener D. J. (1997), «Biogeography of Indonesian snakes», J. Biogeo., 24, 725 – 735.

Koch A., Auliya M., Schmitz A., Kuch U., and Böhme W. (2007a), «Morphological studies on the systematics of South East Asian Water Monitors (Varanus salvator Complex): Nominotypic populations and taxonomic overview», in: Horn H.-G., Böhme W., and Krebs U. (eds.), Advances in Monitor Research. III. Mertensiella, Vol. 16, pp. 109 – 180.

Koch A., Arida E., and Böhme W. (2007b), «Zwischenbericht über die Herpetofauna Sulawesis unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Gattung Varanus: phylogeographische Beziehungen zu angrenzenden Gebieten», Elaphe, 15(3), 42 – 52.

Koch A., Gaulke M., and Böhme W. (2010), «Unravelling the underestimated diversity of Philippine water monitor lizards (Squamata, Varanus salvator complex), with the description of two new species and a new subspecies», Zootaxa, 2446, 1 – 54.

Kuchling G., Rhodin A. G. J., Ibarrondo B. R., and Trainor C. R. (2007), «A new subspecies of the snakeneck turtle Chelodina mccordi from Timor-Leste (East Timor) (Testudines: Chelidae)», Chel. Conserv. Biol., 6(2), 213 – 222.

Lenk P., Eidenmüller B., Staudter H., Wicker R., and Wink M. (2005), «A parthenogenetic Varanus», Amphibia–Reptilia, 26, 507 – 514.

Leviton A. E., Gibbs R. H., Jr., Heal E., and Dawson C. E. (1985), «Standards in herpetology and ichthyology: Part I. Standard symbolic codes for institutional resource collections in herpetology and ichthyology», Copeia, 1985, 802 – 832.

Loveridge A. (1934), «Australian reptiles in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts», Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 77, 244 – 380.

Mertens R. (1930), «Die Amphibien und Reptilien der Inseln Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa und Flores», Abh. Senckenb. Naturf. Ges., 42, 115 – 344.

Mertens R. (1942), «Die Familie der Warane (Varanidae). Dritter Teil: Taxonomie», Abh. Senckenb. Naturf. Ges., 466, 235 – 391.

Mertens R. (1959), «Liste der Warane Asiens und der Indo-australischen Inselwelt mit systematischen Bemerkungen», Senckenb. biol., 40, 221 – 240.

Mertens R. (1963), «Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien: Helodermatidae, Varanidae, Lanthanotidae», in: Mertens R. and Hennig W. (eds.), Das Tierreich, Walter de Gruyter and Co., Berlin, pp. 1 – 26.

Mittermeier R. A., Gil P. R., Hoffmann M., Pilgrim J., Brooks T., Goettsch Mittermeier C. G., Lamoreux J., and da Fonseca G. A. B. (2004), Hotspots Revisited, CEMEX, Mexico City.

Müller S. and Schlegel H. (1845), «Over de in den Indischen Archipel levende hagedisachtige Dieren von het Geslacht Monitor», in: Temminck C. J. (ed.), Verhandelingen over de natuurlijke Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche overzeesche Bezittingen, A. Arnz and Co., Leiden, pp. 37 – 48.

Myers N., Mittermeier R. A., Mittermeier C. G., da Fonseca G. A. B., and Kent J. (2000), «Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities», Nature, 403, 853 – 858.

Philipp K. M., Böhme W., and Ziegler T. (1999), «The identity of Varanus indicus: redefinition and description of a sibling species coexisting at the type locality», Spixiana, 22(3), 273 – 287.

Setiadi M. I. and Hamidy A. (2006), Jenis-jenis herpetofauna di Pulau Halmahera, Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Puslit Biologi Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI), Bogor.

Stresemann E. (1914), «Die Vögel von Seran (Ceram)», Novit. Zool., 21, 25 – 153.

Stuart B. L., Rhodin A. G. J., Grismer L. L., and Hansel T. (2006), «Scientific description can imperil species», Science, 312, 1137.

Voris H. K. (2000), «Maps of Pleistocene sea levels in Southeast Asia: shorelines, river systems and time durations», J. Biogeo., 27, 1153 – 1167.

Watts P. C., Buley K. R., Sanderson S., Boardman W., Ciofi C., and Gibson R. (2006), «Parthenogenesis in Komodo dragons», Nature, 444, 1021 – 1022.

Weijola V. (2010), «Geographic distribution and habitat use of monitor lizards of the North Moluccas», Biawak, 4(1), 7 – 23.

Weijola V. and Sweet S. S. (2010), «A new melanistic species of monitor lizard (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanidae) from Sanana Island, Indonesia», Zootaxa, 2434, 17 – 32.

Wilson K. A., McBride M. F., Bode M., and Possigham H. P. (2006), «Prioritizing global conservation efforts», Nature, 440, 337 – 340.

Ziegler T. and Böhme W. (1999), «Genital morphology and systematics of two recently described monitor lizards of the Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) indicus group», in: Horn H.-G. and Böhme W. (eds.), Advances in Monitor Research II, Mertensiella, Vol. 11, pp. 121 – 128.

Ziegler T., Böhme W., and Philipp K. M. (1999), «Varanus caerulivirens sp. n., a new monitor lizard of the V. indicus group from Halmahera, Moluccas, Indonesia», Herpetozoa, 12(1/2), 45 – 56.

Ziegler T., Böhme W., and Schmitz A. (2007a), «A new species of the Varanus indicus group (Squamata, Varanidae) from Halmahera Island, Moluccas: morphological and molecular evidence», Mitt. Mus. Naturk. Berlin. Zool. Reihe Suppl., 83, 109 – 119.

Ziegler T., Schmitz A., Koch A., and Böhme W. (2007b), «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.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2019-17-%25s-299-309

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.