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Encyclopedia > Varanus
Monitor lizards

An Australian lace monitor

(Varanus varius) on a tree.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus

Many, see text.

Monitor lizards are the family Varanidae, a group of lizards which includes the largest living lizard, the Komodo Dragon. Varanidae contains only a single genus: Varanus.

In Australia monitor lizards are known as goannas (See main article).

Origin of Name

It has been said that the name of monitor lizards is derived from a superstition that the creatures would give a warning about the presence of crocodiles. However, this explanation may be apocryphal. According to Wildwatch (http://www.wildwatch.com/resources/other/monitors.asp), the name actually resulted from a mishearing of the Arabic word oaran (lizard) as the German warnen (to warn), which was subsequently Latinized into monitor.


Genus Varanus

  • Varanus acanthurus: Spiny-tailed goanna or Ridge-tailed monitor
  • Varanus albigularis: White-throated monitor
  • Varanus auffenbergi
  • Varanus baritji
  • Varanus beccarii
  • Varanus bengalensis
  • Varanus bogerti
  • Varanus brevicauda Short-tailed monitor
  • Varanus caerulivirens
  • Varanus caudolineatus
  • Varanus cerambonensis
  • Varanus doreanus
  • Varanus dumerilii
  • Varanus eremius
  • Varanus exanthematicus: Savannah monitor
  • Varanus finschi
  • Varanus flavescens: Yellow monitor
  • Varanus giganteus: the Perentie
  • Varanus gilleni Pygmy mulga goanna
  • Varanus glauerti
  • Varanus glebopalma
  • Varanus gouldii Sand goanna (also Gould's goanna, or Ground goanna)
  • Varanus griseus
  • Varanus indicus
  • Varanus jobiensis
  • Varanus juxtindicus
  • Varanus keithhornei
  • Varanus kingorum
  • Varanus komodoensis: Komodo Dragon
  • Varanus mabitang
  • Varanus macraei
  • Varanus melinus
  • Varanus mertensi: Mertens' water monitor
  • Varanus mitchelli
  • Varanus nebulosus
  • Varanus niloticus: Nile monitor
  • Varanus olivaceus
  • Varanus ornatus
  • Varanus panoptes
  • Varanus pilbarensis
  • Varanus prasinus: Emerald monitor
  • Varanus primordius
  • Varanus rosenbergi
  • Varanus rudicollis: Roughneck monitor
  • Varanus salvadorii: Crocodile monitor
  • Varanus salvator: Water monitor
  • Varanus scalaris
  • Varanus semiremex Mangrove goanna
  • Varanus spenceri
  • Varanus spinulosus
  • Varanus storri
  • Varanus telenesetes
  • Varanus timorensis: Timor tree monitor or Timor monitor
  • Varanus tristis Mournful tree monitor
  • Varanus varius: Lace monitor
  • Varanus yemenensis
  • Varanus yuwonoi

  Results from FactBites:
Varanus.net---Captive FAQ--Introduction (849 words)
The smaller species, such as varanus acanthurus or "ackies" are ideal for first time monitors keepers.
The larger species, such as varanus salvator, varanus albigularis or varanus niloticus, although cute little lizards as hatchlings, grow at tremendous rates and can easily be 4'+ by the end of their first year.
All monitors, as of now, belong to the genus varanus but they may soon be split into smaller groups including the Odatria group (Bennett 1998).
Digimorph - Varanus gouldii (sand monitor) (406 words)
It is one of the largest Australian monitors, and is sometimes known as the "racehorse monitor" because it is capable of extreme speed, often running bipedally.
Varanoidea is thought to have evolved in Asia by at least 90 million years ago, whereas the oldest representatives of Varanus date to 25 million years ago.
The varanid skull is distinguished by a number of features, including an elongate fork-shaped premaxilla, fifteen scleral ossicles, and contact of the descending processes of the frontals below the olfactory tracts.
  More results at FactBites »



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