Varanus juxtinidicus was described from several preserved specimens originally labeled as Varanus indicus (Böhme, Philipp & Ziegler 2002). Rennell Island is located a considerable distance from most other islands in the Solomons and so this species enjoys a degree of isolation. Normal Varanus indicus as found in the rest of the island chain do not occur on Rennell. A distinctive feature of this species is a tail that is rounded in cross-section (versus laterally compressed as in other indicus-complex species). Though this species is only known from Rennell Island, indicus-type animals with rounded tails have been collected from Olu Malau further north in the
Background color: Brownish-black
Dorsal pattern: Small dirty yellow spots arranged irregularly
Tail pattern: Small dirty yellow spots arranged irregularly (blue pigmentation absent)
Throat/ventral pattern: Yellow and unpatterned
Post-ocular stripe: Absent
Tongue color: Pink with a dark tip
Note the distinctive round-in-cross-section tail; unique among described members of the indicus species-complex.
Note the distinctive bi-colored tongue in the last two photos. All preceding photos courtesy of Steve Foo.
Photos courtesy of Rune Midtgaard (http://www.natureswindow.dk/). Note: These animals were originally (incorrectly) identified as Varanus indicus. The similarity between these two taxa has resulted in some confusion before including the mis-identification of captive animals (see Wesiak & Koch 2009).
Böhme, W.; Philipp, K. M. & T. Ziegler (2002): Another new member of the Varanus (Euprepiosaurus) indicus group (Sauria, Varanidae): an undescribed species from Rennell Island, Solomon Islands. Salamandra 38 (1): 15-26.
Wesiak, K. & A. Koch (2009): Successful husbandry and first breeding of Varanus juxtindicus Böhme et al, 2002, with remarks on the development of juveniles of this "rarely-kept" endemic Solomon monitor species. Biawak 3 (4): 106-121. (http://www.varanidae.org/Vol3_No4.pdf)