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Varanus cumingi, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Cladus: Unidentata, Episquamata, Toxicofera
Subordo: Anguimorpha
Infraordo: Paleoanguimorpha

Superfamilia: Varanoidea
Familia: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Subgenus: Varanus (Soterosaurus)
Species: Varanus cumingi
Subspecies: V. c. cumingi – V. c. samarensis

Varanus cumingi Martin, 1839

Lectotype: BMNH 1946.8.31.5 (dried skin), adult

Type location: Mindanao, Philippines

Varanus cumingi

Varanus cumingi, Photo: Michael Lahanas


Koch, A.; Gaulke, M.; Böhme, W. 2010: Unravelling the underestimated diversity of Philippine water monitor lizards (Squamata: Varanus salvator complex), with the description of two new species and a new subspecies. Zootaxa, 2446: 1–54. Preview

Links Accessed on 13 October 2009.
Varanus cumingi at the New Reptile Database. Accessed on 13 October 2009.
De Lisle, H. F.; 2009: Catalog of the Genus Varanus (Reptilia: Squamata: Varanidae) with new designations of a neotype and a lectotype. ZooNova, 1: 8–32.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Mindanao-Bindenwaran
English: Mindanao Water Monitor

The yellow-headed water monitor (Varanus cumingi), also commonly known as the Philippine water monitor or Cuming's water monitor, is a large species of monitor lizard in the family Varanidae. Varanus cumingi was previously recognized as a subspecies of the water monitor (Varanus salvator), but today is acknowledged as a species in its own right.[2][3] It feeds on birds, fish, mammals, and carrion. The species thrives in mangrove, forest and water margins in tropical refuges.

The specific name, cumingi, is in honor of English conchologist and botanist Hugh Cuming.[4]
Geographic range

Varanus cumingi is found in the southern Philippines, where it is distributed on Mindanao and a few small nearby islands.

Varanus cumingi has the highest degree of yellow coloration among all the endemic water monitors in the Philippines, probably even in the world.

Varanus cumingi inhabits primary and secondary forests, and cultivated lands.

The diet of V. cumingi is composed of rodents, birds, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates, including eggs and carrion.[5]
Two subspecies were formerly recognized: V. c. cumingi occurring on Mindanao and offshore islands and V. c. samarensis on the islands of Bohol, Leyte and Samar. However, the latter has since been elevated to full species status as Varanus samarensis.


"Varanus cumingi ". The Reptile Database.
Koch A, Auliya M, Schmitz A, Kuch U, Böhme W (2007). "Morphological Studies on the Systematics of South East Asian Water Monitors (Varanus salvator Complex): Nominotypic Populations and Taxonomic Overview". pp. 109-180. In: Horn H-G, Böhme W, Krebs U (editors) (2007). Advances in Monitor Research III. (Mertensiella Series 16). Rheinbach: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde. "Soterosaurus: Mindanao Water Monitor". Retrieved 20 March 2012.
Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Varanus cumingi, p. 62).

Avilon Zoo,

Further reading

Martin [WCL] (1839). "Remarks on two species of Saurian Reptiles". Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1838: 68–70. (Varanus cumingi, new species, pp. 69–70). (in English and Latin).

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