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Varanus similis Print E-mail
Spotted tree goanna

Varanus similis  Mertens 1958

Differences between this goanna and V.scalaris have been outlined above. Bohme (1988) considered V.similis to be "probably a valid species" on the basis of its hemipenal morphology. Unfortunately he makes no reference to V.scalaris.

This monitor was previously known as Varanus timorensis similis. It is found in northern Australia and the south of New Guinea (the Western Province of Papua and the adjacent part of Irian Jaya (Whitaker et al 1982; Brandenberg 1983)). Because nothing is known of the lifestyle of the animals in New Guinea and very few publications distinguish the Australian races from V.scalaris, this animal is discussed under V.scalaris. Captive care and breeding is reported by Peters (1968), Schmida (1971), Ruegg (1974), Chippindale (1991) and Lambertz (1993,1994).
 
 

 

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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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