New findings on the relationships within the Varanus prasinus complex
Tissue samples of 36 monitor lizards of nine species of the Varanus prasinus (Schlegel, 1839) complex were investigated regarding a 519 bp fragment of the mitochondrial 16S gene to elucidate their systematic relationships. The dataset, which contains the first sequence data for V. reisingeri Eidenmüller & Wicker, 2005, and V. bogerti Mertens, 1950, was aligned to published sequence data (Ziegler et al. 2007). The present results generally support the findings of an older study, and furthermore propose an unexpected close phylogenetic relationship of V. bogerti to V. kordensis (A. B. Meyer, 1874). Despite of obvious differences in coloration, pholidosis,
and morphometrics, no sign of molecular differentiation in the studied mitochondrial sequence data was detected between V. reisingeri and V. prasinus. The new findings are discussed in the light of the biogeography of the New Guinea region.