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Butaan are Obligate Frugivores! Print E-mail
ImageAn obligate frugivore is an animal whose diet throughout its range consist largely of fruit. Other obligate frugivores in the Philippines include flying foxes, hornbills and other birds. The butaan is much larger than any other obligate frugivore in the Philippines and had a much more restricted diet; on Polillo the diet of adult butaan consists almost entirely of eight species of fruits and two species of snails.

 
 

 

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Bye Bye Butaan

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Butaan start to visit fruiting trees before they are large enough to swallow the fruits. They make repeat journeys to trees, perhaps to reinforce memory of the position of the tree. If the youngster survives it may continue to use this tree for many decades. Fruiting trees like this are a vital resource for entire populations of butaan. Learn more >


 
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The Butaan Project
Varanus bitatawa

Varanus bitatawa is the third species of  monitor lizard to be recognised by science that belongs to the "Pandan Biawak" group,  all of which are of at least as great a conservation concern as the Komodo dragon, but receive virtually none of the attention. Pandan Biawak occur only in lowland dipterocarp forest. The first species (Varanus olivaceus or Butaan) was discovered in 1845 and not seen alive by a scientist until the late 1970s. The next species (Varanus mabitang or Mabitang) was discovered in 2001 and in 2010 Varanus bitatawa (Butikaw or Bitatawa) was described. Other species of frugivorous monitor lizards may remain undescribed, but many may have  gone extinct without ever having been recognised.

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