Yellow-headed water monitor

  (Redirected from Varanus cumingi)

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.

Yellow-headed water monitor
Varanus salvator cumingi.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Subgenus: Soterosaurus
V. cumingi
Binomial name
Varanus cumingi
Martin, 1839
  • Varanus cumingi
    Martin, 1839
  • Varanus salvator cumingi
    Mertens, 1942
  • Varanus cumingi
    Koch et al., 2007
  • Varanus (Soterosaurus) cumingi
    — Koch et al., 2010


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

Geographic rangeEdit

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


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


V. 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.

Showing yellow head
Darker individual in Frankfurt Zoo


  1. ^ "Varanus cumingi ". The Reptile Database.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Soterosaurus: Mindanao Water Monitor". Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  4. ^ 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).
  5. ^ Avilon Zoo,

Further readingEdit

  • 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).