Discovery of a new Philippine monitor lizard (Varanus bitatawa)

'A spectacular new Philippine monitor lizard reveals a hidden biogeographic boundary and a novel flagship species for conservation' . CML-researcher Merlijn van Weerd has participated in a new article in Biology Letters about this discovery.

Introduction

Photo: Merlijn van Weerd

Photo: Merlijn van Weerd

An international group of scientists, including CML researcher/biologist Merlijn van Weerd have described a new monitor lizard (Varanus bitatawa) that lives in the Philippines in the remaining forests of northern Luzon. They report on the discovery of this spectacular new species of giant, secretive, frugivorous forest monitor lizard in Biology Letters. It is a 2 meter long species which provide insight into its historical biogeography and systematic affinities.


First photo of the lizard

Merlijn van Weerd has taken the first photo of this new species when he met a local hunter who caught the monitor lizard in the forest of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The new species was known to the local indigenous people, the Agta, who call it Bitatawa. The scientific name of the species refers to the Agta name.

Distribution and phylogenetic relationships of Varanus bitatawa, n. sp. and its closest relative, Varanus olivaceus.

Distribution and phylogenetic relationships of Varanus bitatawa, n. sp. and its closest relative, Varanus olivaceus.

More information

More information about this discovery can be found at:


See also:

Last Modified: 09-04-2010