Varanus douarrha: Researchers Rediscover Long-Lost Species of Monitor Lizard

An general group of researchers has found and re-described a class of guard lizard, Varanus douarrha, from a island of New Ireland in a Bismarck Archipelago, northeast of Papua New Guinea.

Varanus douarrha. Image credit: Valter Weijola.

Varanus douarrha. Image credit: Valter Weijola.

Varanus douarrha was described from a singular citation performed by French naturalist René Lesson in Port Praslin during a southern finish of New Ireland during his work on a La Coquille scrutiny boat in 1823.

“Considering that no measurements are supposing in Lesson’s 1830 outline it appears controversial either a form citation ever reached Europe for closer inspection,” a researchers said.

“Three boxes of La Coquille’s South American and Pacific collections were sent toward France with a ship’s surgeon Prosper Garnot, who had depressed ill with dysentery. First, as distant as Mauritius on a crook boat Castle Forbes, and from there leading with a King George IV, that shipwrecked during a Cape of Good Hope 15 Jul 1824, and all a collections were lost.”

Since then, it has been believed that guard lizards on New Ireland go to a mangrove guard (Varanus indicus).

“However, new morphological and genetic studies reliable that a guard lizards of New Ireland have lived in siege for a prolonged time and grown into a apart species,” pronounced group member Valter Weijola, a researcher in a Department of Biology during a University of Turku, Finland, and lead author of a news on Varanus douarrha in a Australian Journal of Zoology.

Varanus douarrha. Image credit: Valter Weijola.

Varanus douarrha. Image credit: Valter Weijola.

The find is quite engaging as many of a autochthonous class to New Ireland left thousands of years ago as humans colonized a island.

Varanus douarrha can grow to over 4.3 feet (1.3 m) in length and, according to stream information, it is a usually flourishing vast class autochthonous to a island,” Weijola said.

“Based on bone discoveries, we now know that a vast rodent class and several flightless birds have lived in a area.”

“In that approach it can be deliberate a vestige of a historically richer fauna that inhabited a Pacific islands.”

“These medium-sized Pacific monitors are clearly most improved during co-existing with humans than many of a birds and mammals have been.”


Valter Weijola et al. Reinstatement of Varanus douarrha Lesson, 1830 as a current class with comments on a zoogeography of guard lizards (Squamata : Varanidae) in a Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Zoology, published online Apr 26, 2017; doi: 10.1071/ZO16038