Taxonomie und Artenkenntnis für effizienten Artenschutz am Beispiel der indo-australischen Warane
The fundamental importance of taxonomy and species knowledge as prerequisite for the effective conservation of species is outlined using the example of three groups of Indo-Australien monitor lizards (Varanidae): the V. salvator, V. indicus and the V. prasinus species groups, respectively. The taxonomic splitting of new animal and plant species from the distribution range of wide-spread species may result in the significant reduction of the actual range. Consequently, the conservation status and potential threats of both the newly described and the formerly known species have to be (re-)evaluated critically. Here, the applied (sub-) species concept is crucial since closely related populations may either be considered subspecies of a wide-spread species or as multiple independent species with restricted distribution ranges. In order to control the international trade with monitor lizards (and other wildlife) effectively and to conduct non-detrimental findings, species knowledge is essentially important. Given the still increasing number of described monitor lizard species from the Indo- Australian region, the managing customs and nature conservation authorities in both the countries of origin and the consumer countries face an immense challenge in order to ensure the sustainable use and protection of monitor lizards - and especially of Indonesian island endemics - in the future.