Just weeks after scientists announced the discovery of a new monitor lizard in the Philippines, researchers have uncovered another unknown monitor inhabiting Southeast Asia. Described in Zootaxa, the new torch monitor (Varanus obor) is found only on the tiny island of Sanana, in the western Moluccan islands of Indonesia.
The new monitor lizard, named ‘Torch’ for its bright orange head which tops a black body, reaches almost four feet in length, a little smaller than the other recently-discovered monitor Varanus bitatawa from the Philippines. Researchers say the torch monitor in fact a close relative of Varanus bitatawa . Inhabiting the coastal sago palm mangrove forests on Sanana, the torch monitor is the only monitor species to have evolved red coloring.
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