monitor lizard facts

Most monitor lizard species are carnivorous and often consume large insects and spiders, other lizards, small mammals, birds, eggs, amphibians and fish. About 80 species are recognized. Some species of varanid lizards can count; studies feeding V. albigularis varying numbers of snails showed that they can distinguish numbers up to six. [17] Like snakes, monitor lizards have forked tongues, which they use to sense odors. [citation needed], The genus Varanus is considered unique among animals in that its members are relatively morphologically conservative, yet show a very large size range. Similarly, in South African English, they are referred to as leguaans, or likkewaans, from the Dutch term for the Iguanidae, leguanen. Males and females can recognize each other thanks to the pheromones. There are 79 species of monitor lizard.. The generic name “Varanus“ is derived from the Arabic word waral/waran ورن/ورل, from a common Semitic root ouran, waran, or waral, meaning “dragon” or “lizard beast”. Monitor lizard has excellent eyesight and sense of smell. Monitor lizards are oviparous, laying from 7 to 37 eggs, which they often cover with soil or protect in a hollow tree stump. Monitor lizard is large reptile that belongs to the genus Varanus. [21] Monitor lizards probably expanded their geographic range into Africa between 49 and 33 million years ago, possibly via Iran, and to Australia and the Indonesian archipelago between 39 and 26 million years ago.[22]. Monitor lizards have become a staple in the reptile pet trade. [35], In English, they are known as "monitors" or "monitor lizards". Monitor lizards differ from most other known species of lizards in that they have a high metabolism. Body of monitor lizard is covered with scales in tan, green, grey or brown color. Most species feed on invertebrates as juveniles and shift to feeding on vertebrates as adults. During the Late Cretaceous Period, monitor lizards or their close relatives are believed to have evolved into amphibious and then fully marine forms, the mosasaurs, some of which reached lengths of 12 m (39 ft) or more. [24][25], By the Pleistocene Epoch, giant monitor lizards lived in Southeast Asia and Australasia, the best known fossil species being the megalania (Varanus priscus, a giant goanna formerly known as Megalania prisca). ; King, D.R. Most monitor species are terrestrial, but arboreal and semiaquatic monitors are also known. The meat of monitor lizards is used in Nepal for medicinal and food purpose.[47]. Even though monitor lizards are not on the list of endangered species at the moment, their future is uncertain due to uncontrolled killing, pet trade and habitat loss. Most species of monitor lizard have poisonous saliva which facilitates killing of the prey and provides protection against the predators. Some monitor lizards, including the Komodo dragon, are capable of parthenogenesis. This means they must be fed more often than other lizards. Monitor lizards have long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs. Komodo dragon is the largest species of monitor lizard. Varanids last shared a common ancestor with their closest living relatives, earless "monitors", during the Late Cretaceous. The most commonly kept monitors are the savannah monitor and Ackies monitor, due to their relatively small size, low cost, and relatively calm dispositions with regular handling. They are native to Africa, Asia, and Oceania, but are now found also in the Americas as an invasive species. In English, they are known as “monitors” or “monitor lizards”. The earlier term “monitory lizard” became rare by about 1920. Some species also eat fruit and vegetation. [36] The name may have been suggested by the occasional habit of varanids to stand on their two hind legs and to appear to "monitor",[35] or perhaps from their supposed habit of "warning persons of the approach of venomous animals". [citation needed] Both meat and eggs are also eaten in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam and Thailand as a delicacy. [15] This allows monitor lizards to create mammalian-equivalent pressure differentials between the pulmonary and systemic circuits,[15] which in turn ensure that oxygenated blood is quickly distributed to the body without also flooding the lungs with high-pressure blood. It uses scent glands in the tail to mark its territory, feeding area and basking grounds. Their tongues are long, forked, and snakelike. In some parts of the world, monitor lizards are kept as house pets (they are not recommended for the inexperienced owners because of their aggressive nature). The various species cover a vast area, occurring through Africa, the Indian subcontinent, to China, the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan, south to Southeast Asia to Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, and islands of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Monitor lizards communicate with each other via visual (body postures), olfactory (smells) and audio (sounds) signals. Whereas most reptiles are considered to have three-chambered hearts, the hearts of monitor lizards – as with those of boas and pythons – have a well developed ventricular septum that completely separates the pulmonary and systemic sides of the circulatory system during systole. The family Varanidae probably originated in Asia at least 65 million years ago. The general consensus is that monitor lizards have the highest standard metabolic rates of all extant reptiles.[13]. The West African Nile monitor is now found in South Florida[3] and in Singapore. [9] Finer morphological features such as the shape of the skull and limbs do vary, though, and are strongly related to the ecology of each species. The Komodo dragon is known to capture much larger prey such as water buffalo. [6][7][8] Although normally solitary, groups as large as 25 individual monitor lizards are common in ecosystems that have limited water resources. Monitor lizards have sharp and sensitive eyesight. Some species occasionally consume fruit. Komodo dragon is the largest species of monitor lizard. In South Asia, they are known as hangkok in Meitei,ghorpad घोरपड in Marathi, udumbu in Tamil and Malayalam, bilgoh in Bhojpuri, gohi (गोहि) in Maithili, in Sinhala as කබරගොයා (kabaragoya), in Telugu as udumu (ఉడుము), in Punjabi and Magahi as गोह (goh), in Assamese as gui xaap, in Odia as ଗୋଧି (godhi), and in Bengali as গোসাপ (goshaap) or গুইসাপ (guishaap), and गोह (goh) in Hindi. Monitor lizard relies on the camouflaging colors of the body and ability to run very fast when it needs to escape from the predators. All monitor lizards are excellent swimmers. Monitor lizards are large lizards and they love to feed on amphibians, eggs, mammals, birds, reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, insects, and deer which makes up half of their diet. [18] The average lifespan of most monitor lizard species varies from 8 to 30 years. Monitor lizard can survive 8 to 30 years in the wild. They are considered rather intelligent and have even shown the ability to count as high as 6. Monitor lizard is a carnivore. Partial fossils of Megalania prisca, an extinct Australian monitor that lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, suggest that it exceeded 7 meters (23 feet) in length and likely weighed nearly 600 kg (about 1,300 pounds). Monitor lizards have a high aerobic scope[13][14] that is afforded, in part, by their heart anatomy. Their visual field spans 240 degrees. The adult length of extant species ranges from 20 cm (7.9 in) in some species, to over 3 m (10 ft) in the case of the Komodo dragon, though the extinct varanid known as Megalania (Varanus priscus) may have been capable of reaching lengths more than 7 m (23 ft). The most commonly kept monitors are the savannah monitor and Ackies dwarf monitor, due to their relatively small size, low cost, and relatively calm dispositions with regular handling. Koch, André; Gaulke, Maren; Böhme, Wolfgang (2010). Pianka, E.R. Monitors primary method of communication is via their movements and their posture. The monitor lizards are large lizards in the genus Varanus.. Some monitor lizards, including the Komodo dragon, are capable of parthenogenesis (a natural form of asexual reproduction). [46] Monitor lizards are oviparous,[13] laying from seven to 37 eggs,[citation needed] which they often cover with soil or protect in a hollow tree stump. Most species have an elongated head and neck, a relatively heavy body, a long tail, and well-developed legs. All but five species of monitor lizards are classified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora under Appendix II, which is loosely defined as species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but may become so unless trade in such species is subject to strict regulation to avoid use incompatible with the survival of the species in the wild. Monitor lizard has terrestrial, semi-aquatic or arboreal lifestyle, depending on the species. It is an instrument of the tambourine family. [10][11], Monitor lizards maintain large territories and employ active-pursuit hunting techniques that are reminiscent of similar-sized mammals. [35] Among others, black-throated monitors, timor monitors, Asian water monitors, Nile monitors, mangrove monitors, emerald tree monitors, black tree monitors, roughneck monitors, Dumeril's monitors, peach-throated monitors, crocodile monitors, and Argus monitors have been kept in captivity. [48], The yellow monitor (V. flavescens) is protected in all countries in its range except Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.[49]. Deer make up about 50% of the diet of adults of the largest species, Varanus komodoensis. Monitor lizards inhabit jungles, coastal forests and areas close to the rivers. [42][43], In parts of Pakistan and southern India, as well in Northeastern India particularly Assam the different parts of monitor lizards are used for a variety of medical purposes. [41], Monitor lizards have become a staple in the reptile pet trade. [29], V. jobiensis was once considered to be a member of the V. indicus species complex, but is now considered to represent its own species complex.

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