Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover new monitor species - find reveals the underestimated diversity of top-predators in Indonesia

20.07.2009
A new monitor lizard species has been discovered on the Talaud Islands in Indonesia by German scientist André Koch from the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) in Bonn, during the course of a joint German-Indonesian research project. The new species was identified by using morphological characteristics and DNA analysis. Varanus lirungensis was described in the latest issue of the renowned Australian Journal of Zoology.

"The finding of Varanus lirungensis is very important because it illustrates the high diversity of monitor lizards in Indonesia" notes André Koch. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Böhme, also from the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, adds: "After the discovery of several new species of Asian water monitors on Sulawesi and surrounding islands two years ago, this is further evidence for the underestimated diversity of Indonesian monitor lizards."

"As monitor lizards are exploited for the international trade in live animals and reptile leather, small island populations could soon be eliminated" explains Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wägele, Director of the ZFMK. Therefore, he recommends scientific studies in these giant reptiles. Dr. Thomas Ziegler, co-author and head of the aquarium at the Cologne Zoo supports him: "The taxonomic revision of Indonesia's monitor lizards is urgently required to determine and adjust the official export quotas and define the conservation status of single island populations."

André Koch and his Indonesian co-operation partner Evy Arida from the Zoological Museum in Bogor on Java originally travelled to the Talaud Islands to study another widely distributed monitor species, the Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator). Due to their central position between the northern peninsula of Sulawesi and the Philippine island of Mindanao (see map), the researchers assumed that the small island group had served as"stepping stones" for monitors (and other animals) to spread out across the islands.

It was totally unknown, however, which species of water monitors inhabited the Talaud Archipelago. To their surprise André Koch and Evy Arida discovered, that not a water monitor but a previously unknown member of the widespread mangrove monitors around Varanus indicus inhabited the Talaud Islands. This is the most north-westerly occurrence of a member of the Varanus indicus species group in the Indo-Australian region. The hope to find the first case of a common occurrence of the two monitor species groups was not accomplished in the end; probably because both seem to exclude each other due to their very similar life habits.

The hypothesis that the Talaud Islands served as migration route between the Philippines and Sulawesi has to be rejected, or at least restricted. This insight is supported by a comparison of the remaining amphibians and reptiles of the Talaud Archipelago which was also published by André Koch and colleagues in the currentissue of the Bonner Zoologische Beiträge.

Background:

The Southeast Asian island nation of Indonesia is well known for its extraordinary biological richness and diversity. It is one of the biodiversity hotspots of our planet, a mega diversity country. This is not just true for coral fishes or butterflies and other small insects, but also for the large predators in this region, the monitor lizards (genus Varanus); first and foremost the famous Komodo dragon. Studies of the mangrove monitor group around Varanus indicus bought repeated surprises in the past, as previously unknown and

colourfully-marked species were discovered. Mostly, these new species reached Europe and Germany through the international reptile trade, or were encountered in old museum collections where their real identity had often lain unrecognized for several decades. Not so, however, with the latest new monitor species which was discovered by the joint German-Indonesian research team on a remote Indonesian island group.

At the present time the new species, Varanus lirungensis, is only known from the small Talaud Island group located in the centre of the Indo-Australian Archipelago between Sulawesi, the Philippines and the Moluccas (see map). The scientific name lirungensis refers to the small village of Lirung on Salibabu Island where the new species was first located. Salibabu is the second largest island of the Talaud group.

Literature sources:
Koch A., Arida E., Schmitz A., Böhme W. & Ziegler T. 2009.
Refining the polytypic species concept of mangrove monitors (Squamata: Varanus indicus group): a new cryptic species from the Talaud Islands, Indonesia, reveals the underestimated diversity of Indo-Australian monitor lizards.
Australian Journal of Zoology, 57(1): 29-40.
Link: http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/90/paper/ZO08072.htm
Koch A., Arida E., Riyanto A. & Böhme W. 2009.
Islands between the realms: a revised checklist of the herpetofauna of the Talaud Archipelago, Indonesia, with a discussion about its biogeographic affinities. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge, 56(1/2): 107-129.
Link:
http://zfmk.de/web/ZFMK_Mitarbeiter/KochAndr/Publikation_neu/Koch_etal_2009
_Talaud_Herptiles.pdf
Contact, photos and further information:
Dipl.-Biol. André Koch
Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig
& Leibniz Institute for Terrestrial Biodiversity
- Department of Herpetology & Molecular Biodiversity Lab -
Phone: +49 (0)228 9122 277
Fax: +49 (0)228 9122 295
E-Mail: a.koch.zfmk@uni-bonn.de
The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig
The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) is one of the largest natural history research museums in Germany. The museum has earned its reputation as a leader in the documentation, research, and interpretation of biodiversity. The ZFMK is under the jurisdiction of the State of Nordrhein Westfalia. The official authority to which it reports is the Ministry of Innovation, Science, Research, and Technology of the State of Nordrhein Westfalia in Düsseldorf. The national and international significance of the research conducted in the museum, and hence its trend-setting work, conforms to national interests. Accordingly, half of the research costs in the annual budget, consisting of ca. 3.5 million Euro, is provided by the federal government. The museum maintains 49 permanent positions (14 of which are held by researchers), as well as 130 additional employees (comprising 15 researchers undertaking externally funded projects, 100 doctoral, masters, and undergraduate students, and 15 volunteers). The Museum Koenig is a member of the Leibniz community (WGL), a a union of scientifically, judicially, and economically independent research and service institutions which, as non-university institutions of national interest, are funded by an individually fixed proportion of the federal government budget.

The Leibniz Association comprises 86 research institutions which address scientific issues of importance to society as a whole. They provide infrastructure for science and research and perform research-based services - liaison, consultation, transfer - for the public, policy makers, academia and business. They conduct research ranging from natural science, engineering and environmental science via economics, social science and infrastructure research to the humanities.

The typical Leibniz institute is a compact, flexible unit of excellence. Each institute works in a thematically defined, groundbreaking research field. An interdisciplinary approach and academic freedom characterise the work, which has a strategic mission: The research tasks at Leibniz institutes span knowledge-oriented basic research and applied research and build a bridge between them. The institutes cooperate with universities, institutions belonging to other research organisations and commercial enterprise at national and international level.

Sabine Heine | idw
Further information:
http://zfmk.de/web/ZFMK_Mitarbeiter/KochAndr/index.en.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>