Varanus lirungensis was described in 2009 (Koch, Arida, Schmitz, Böhme & Ziegler). Prior to this, specimens from the Talaud Islands (the most north-westerly range of any indicus-complex animals) had been considered as Varanus indicus.
Varanus lirungensis is found in coastal habitats including coconut plantations and, like Varanus indicus, appear to prefer saltwater habitats. This species is known to be semi-arboreal. Little else is thus far known about this recently-described species.
Background color: Black
Dorsal pattern: Yellow spots (three to eight scales in size), forming indistinct blotches or transverse bands
Tail pattern: Mottled with scattered yellow scales (blue pigmentation absent)
Throat/ventral pattern: Ventral surface light yellowish, possessing faded bands; throat pinkish and lightly spotted on the sides
Post-ocular stripe: Absent
Tongue color: Pink at base and ventrally; grey dorsally
Known from Pulau Salibabu and Karakelong in the
Koch, A.; Arida, E.; Schmitz, A.; Böhme, W. & T. Ziegler (2009): Refining the polytypic species concept of mangrove monitors (Squamata: Varanus indicus group): a new cryptic species from the Talaud Islands, Indonesia, reveals the underestimated diversity of Indo-Australian monitor lizards. Australian Journal of Zoology 57: 29-40.