Sunday, July 3, 2011

Varanus Cf. Salvator Habitat In Indonesian

The distribution of Varanus Cf. Salvator  in the Moluccas has been uncertain for a long time, probably starting with what appears to be an erroneous record for Halmahera in de Rooij (1915), widely cited since (for example Bennett, 1995, Harvey and Barker, 1998). Obi, Seram and Bacan were mentioned by Mertens (1930, 1942, 1959), and Buru by Bleeker (1857). Since recent fieldwork, including this study, has not found support for many of these localities, it is suggested that all except Obi be omitted from the range of Varanus Cf. Salvator. Since the animals on Obi do not completely correspond with any of the described Varanus salvator group taxa, it is here employed with a cf. (meaning “compare with”).

Varanus Cf. Salvator

Varanus Cf. Salvator Distribution (in the north Moluccas): Obi Island, probably also on nearby Bisa, but not confirmed.

Varanus Cf. Salvator Ecology
Five observations were made of this species during two weeks on Obi. The sympatry between members of Soterosaurus and Euprepiosauris is interesting, since some authors have presumed that they might be ecologically exclusive (Mertens, 1942, Sprackland, 2004, Ziegler et al., 2007b). This proves to be incorrect since this study confirms sympatry of V. cf. salvator with V. rainerguentheri and V. caerulivirens on Obi, as well as two other species in the Sula islands (Weijola and Sweet, in press).

Varanus Cf. Salvator
Varanus Cf. Salvator

 All observations of V. cf. salvator on Obi occurred in coastal mangrove forest and periodically flooded littoral vegetation, where it is widely syntopic with V. rainerguentheri. They most likely also occur in inland forests and around freshwater streams side by side with V. caerulivirens. On Obi, they appear less numerous than V. rainerguentheri (5 vs. 22 observations), and similarly on Sanana, many fewer Varanus cf. salvator were observed compared to a sympatric member of the V. indicus complex during the course of fieldwork.


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