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Varanus telenestes Print E-mail
Rossel Island monitor

Varanus telenestes   Sprackland 1991

Brandenberg (1983) noted that the populations of emerald monitors (Varanus prasinus) on some islands off western New Guinea did not differ markedly from those on the mainland. However the isolated population on Rossel Island at the eastern tip of the Louisiade Archipelago were considered a new species by Sprackland (1990) and named Varanus telenesetes. It has a mottled rather than unpatterned underside and the enlarged scales on the soles of the feet are light rather than dark. Only a single specimen is known which measures 21.7cm SVL, 42.5cm TL. Nothing is known of its way of life.
 
 

 

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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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