Varanus indicus species-complex

Varanus indicus species-complex

Silver Monitor (Varanus zugorum)

Varanus zugorum was described in 2005 (Böhme & Ziegler) from a single preserved specimen. Similar animals have been imported (rumored from either Halmahera or New Guinea) which resemble zugorum and are believed by several sources to represent this species.

Nothing is known concerning this species' habits or preferred habitat and observations of it even by locals are rare (Weijola 2010).

Distinctive Features (from Böhme & Ziegler 2005)

Background color: Greyish-olive

Dorsal pattern: Patternless, save for scattered bluish scales (Note: The only currently known specimen is a juvenile. How the appearance of the adults varies is unknown)

Tail pattern: Mostly patternless; a dozen faint dark bands are present at the tip (blue pigmentation absent)

Throat/ventral pattern: Light yellowish and unpatterned

Post-ocular stripe: Absent

Tongue color: Dark (purplish) with a pink base

Range

Known from the Jailolo District of northern Halmahera in the Moluccas and may occur throughout the island.

An imported specimen similar in appearance to the holotype of Varanus zugorum and considered by sources to represent that species. Said to originate from Halmahera. Photo courtesy of Danny Gunalen. Note: I've been told that a similar animal was said to be imported years ago from New Guinea, though this locality information is considered suspect.

Status in Captivity

Varanus zugorum is currently known with certainty only from the type specimen. However, a handful of specimens which have surfaced in the pet trade likely represent this species (see above).

Sources

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

Weijola, V. S. A. (2010): Geographical distribution and habitat use of monitor lizards of the north Moluccas. Biawak 4 (1): 7-23. (http://www.varanidae.org/Vol4_No1.pdf)