Ornate monitor

Ornate monitor

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SPECIES
Varanus ornatus

The ornate monitor is a monitor lizard that is native to West and Middle Africa. Comprehensive molecular analyses of the group have demonstrated that animals previously assigned to "Varanus ornatus" do not constitute a valid taxon and are actually polymorphisms of two different species; Varanus stellatus and Varanus niloticus . Consequently, Varanus ornatus is considered a synonym of Varanus niloticus and "ornate monitor" is an informal term for forest forms of either species . Until 1997, the ornate monitor was considered a subspecies of the Nile monitor. It was subsequently described as a separate species on the basis of reduced number of ocelli rows on the body, a light coloured tongue and a more massive build. More recent work based on a large sample size using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences indicates that Varanus ornatus is not a valid species and that animals with the diagnostic appearance belong either of two sister species of Nile monitor. Animals described as ornate monitor lizards are native to closed canopy forests in West and Middle Africa.

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References

1. Ornate monitor Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornate_monitor
2. Ornate monitor on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22888/9396856

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