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Varanus baritji Print E-mail
White's dwarf goanna
White's goanna

Extract from A Little Book of Monitor Lizards © D. Bennett 1995. Viper Press, UK

Varanus baritji King & Horner 1987

White's Goanna (baritji is an aboriginal word for white and the lizard is named after its discoverer Dr Neville White) is a small spiny-tailed monitor known at present only from the extreme north of the Northern Territory. It can be distinguished from V.acanthurus only on the basis of its pattern and colour. V.baritji lacks the light ocellated markings on the back associated with V.acanthurus and also lacks the light and dark dorsal neck stripes. V.baritji has a bright yellow underside. Like V.acanthurus it favours areas of rocky outcrops and has been collected under both limestone and granite. A specimen caught in early June laid three eggs in captivity. Maximum known length is 72cm TL (25cm SVL) (King & Horner 1987). According to Thissen (1992) Swanson's (1976) picture of V.acanthurus is actually V.baritji.

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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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