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Blue-tailed monitor

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

Varanus doreanus doreanus Meyer 1874

Varanus doreanus finschi Bohme, Horn & Zeigler 1994

Image
Varanus doreanus
The rediscovery of the blue-tailed monitor is the latest in an exciting series of discoveries by Wolfgang Bohme and Georg Horn. Described and forgotten, the holotype had been destroyed by a wartime bomb, but the precise description given by Meyer allowed the recent workers to identify it as identical to their new-found species (Bohme et al 1994). The blue-tailed monitor appears to be closely related to the mangrove monitor, V.indicus, and can be distinguished from this and other, similar, species by the smaller, more numerous, scales over the back, a brightly marbled underside, white tongue and a striped tail. Specimens are known from all over New Guinea and the islands of New Britain and Biak. The blue-tailed monitor appears to be restricted to intact forests and has been seen foraging on the ground. When threatened they do not take to water, as is almost invariably the case with the mangrove monitor. They can be tempted out of hiding with carrion or turtle eggs. V.doreanus finschi from the island of New Britain has a marked, rather than white, throat.

Blue-tailed monitors are exported to Europe and North America, usually under the name Kalabeck's monitor. In captivity they require a spacious enclosure that allows them to climb and a warm, humid climate.

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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
The Butaan Project - Research
butaan3.jpgThe only obligate fruit-eaters among reptiles are three species of monitor lizard that live in the Philippines. Frugivorous vertebrates tend to be able to fly (almost all are bats and birds) and so these lizards have a unique ecological role as highly specialized and relatively immobile fruit eaters. Before this project started, the only studies of this unique giant and endangered lizard had involved killing the animals. We have developed a set of techniques that allow us to learn about these animals in a completely non-destructive way.
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