Molecular and morphological assessment of Varanus pilbarensis (Squamata: Varanidae), with a description of a new species from the southern Pilbara, Western Australia

Brad Maryan, Paul M. Oliver, Alison J. Fitch, Morgan O'Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Varanus pilbarensis Storr, 1980 is a specialised saxicolous varanid endemic to the Pilbara region of Western Australia. We present genetic and morphological evidence confirming the existence of a divergent southern lineage, here described as V. hamersleyensis sp. nov. The new species differs noticeably in having a darker colouration and a reduced pattern of small whitish ocelli on the dorsal surface of the limbs only with a largely unbanded tail. By contrast, V. pilbarensis which is redescribed and restricted to the northern lineage, is paler and more boldly patterned with large greyish ocelli on the dorsal and lateral surfaces of the body and a strongly banded tail. The two species have discrete distributions centred on the Chichester and Hamersley Ranges to the north and south of the Fortescue River Basin. This pattern of intraregional genetic structuring is similar to that found in a number of other saxicolous lizard lineages from the Pilbara.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-158
Number of pages20
JournalZootaxa
Volume3768
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chichester Range
  • Fortescue River Basin
  • Goanna
  • Hamersley Range
  • MtDNA divergence

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