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Varanus kingorum Print E-mail
Kings' goanna

Varanus kingorum    Storr 1980

Kings' goanna is a very poorly known species that lives in the far north of Western Australia and Northern Territory. The very long tail (200-270% of the SVL) indicates that this is a rock dwelling goanna and they may be associated only with sandstone areas. It can be distinguished from all other species by its very long tail, curious loreal crease on the snout and pattern. In colour it is basically brown with a black reticulum in juveniles that breaks down with age to form dark spots and flecks. Maximum size is probably no more than 40cm TL. The longest known male has a SVL of 11cm, largest female is 9.2cm SVL (James et al 1992). Hatchling Kings' goannas are probably less than 6cm SVL.

Very few specimens of this delightful little goanna are known to science. They appear to feed only on insects (orthopterans, termites, blattids and insect eggs). Specimens caught in February have been in reproductive condition. (Losos & Greene 1988; James et al 1992). Kings' goanna has been bred in captivity (Weigel, pers. comm.) but no details are available the time of writing.
 
 

 

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Bye Bye Butaan

 butaan1.jpg

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 - Background and History
butaan2.jpgThe butaan was first described to science in 1845 from a juvenile specimen collected by Hugh Cuming. It was labelled only "Philippines". It was named Varanus grayi.  No other specimens came to light for over 120 years. In the 1970s Walter Auffenberg found another specimen with a location in Luzon, established that its correct scientific name was Varanus olivaceus, and undertook a 22 month study of the species based in Bicol. His study revealed that butaan occupy a unique ecological niche and have a lifestyle quite unlike any other monitor lizard. Auffenberg used local hunters with dogs to catch the animals. Of 126 butaan caught during his study, 116 animals were killed.
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