A New Species of Desert Monitor Lizard (Varanidae: Varanus: Psammosaurus) from the Western Zagros Region (Iraq, Iran)

Wolfgang Böhme, Klaus Ehrlich, Konstantin Milto, Nikolay Orlov, Sebastian Scholz


We describe a new species of desert monitor lizard from the western and southwestern foothills of the Zagros Mountains. From Varanus griseus and its nominal subspecies V. g. griseus, V. g. caspius, and V. g. koniecznyi it is easily distinguishable by its stout head shape, the shape and position of the nostril, an extremely rough and spiny neck scalation, a laterally compressed tail with a double-keeled dorsal crest throughout its length, a nearly uniformly colored dorsum and an unpatterned light yellowish distal half of tail. Geographically, the new species seems to be restricted to the western and southwestern margin of the Zagros Mountain range and seems to prefer medium altitudes between 500 and 1100 m a.s.l. The new species renders the current subgenus Psammosaurus as consisting of more than one single living species.


Squamata; Varanidae; Varanus griseus complex; new species; Iraq; Iran; taxonomy; zoogeography

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2015-22-1-41-52


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