Monitor lizard
Overview
Monitor lizards are usually large reptiles, although some can be as small as 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length. They have long necks, powerful tail
Tail
The tail is the section at the rear end of an animal's body; in general, the term refers to a distinct, flexible appendage to the torso. It is the part of the body that corresponds roughly to the sacrum and coccyx in mammals, reptiles, and birds...

s and claws, and well-developed limbs. Most species are terrestrial
Cursorial
Cursorial is a biological term that describes an organism as being adapted specifically to run. It is typically used in conjunction with an animal's feeding habits or another important adaptation. For example, a horse can be considered a "cursorial grazer", while a wolf may be considered a...

, but arboreal and semiaquatic monitors are also known. Almost all monitor lizards are carnivorous, although Varanus bitatawa
Varanus bitatawa
Varanus bitatawa, known by the common name northern Sierra Madre Forest monitor lizard, is a large, arboreal, frugivorous lizard of the genus Varanus. The lizard is eaten by the Aeta and Ilongot indigenous people of the Philippines, who call it Butikaw.-Physical description:The forest monitor...

, Varanus mabitang and Varanus olivaceus are also known to eat fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. They are oviparous, laying from seven to 37 eggs
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

, which they often cover with soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 or protect in a hollow tree stump.
The various species of Varanus cover
Range (biology)
In biology, the range or distribution of a species is the geographical area within which that species can be found. Within that range, dispersion is variation in local density.The term is often qualified:...

 a vast area, occurring through Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the Asian subcontinent from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, down Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 to Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and islands of the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, and South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

.
Encyclopedia
Monitor lizards are usually large reptiles, although some can be as small as 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length. They have long necks, powerful tail
Tail
The tail is the section at the rear end of an animal's body; in general, the term refers to a distinct, flexible appendage to the torso. It is the part of the body that corresponds roughly to the sacrum and coccyx in mammals, reptiles, and birds...

s and claws, and well-developed limbs. Most species are terrestrial
Cursorial
Cursorial is a biological term that describes an organism as being adapted specifically to run. It is typically used in conjunction with an animal's feeding habits or another important adaptation. For example, a horse can be considered a "cursorial grazer", while a wolf may be considered a...

, but arboreal and semiaquatic monitors are also known. Almost all monitor lizards are carnivorous, although Varanus bitatawa
Varanus bitatawa
Varanus bitatawa, known by the common name northern Sierra Madre Forest monitor lizard, is a large, arboreal, frugivorous lizard of the genus Varanus. The lizard is eaten by the Aeta and Ilongot indigenous people of the Philippines, who call it Butikaw.-Physical description:The forest monitor...

, Varanus mabitang and Varanus olivaceus are also known to eat fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. They are oviparous, laying from seven to 37 eggs
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

, which they often cover with soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 or protect in a hollow tree stump.

Distribution

The various species of Varanus cover
Range (biology)
In biology, the range or distribution of a species is the geographical area within which that species can be found. Within that range, dispersion is variation in local density.The term is often qualified:...

 a vast area, occurring through Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the Asian subcontinent from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, down Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 to Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and islands of the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, and South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

. There is also a large concentration of monitor lizards in Tioman Island
Tioman Island
Tioman Island is a small island located 32 km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Pahang, and is some 39 km long and 12 km wide. It has eight main villages, the largest and most populous being Kampung Tekek in the north...

 in the Malaysian state of Pahang
Pahang
Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.Its state...

.

Evolution

Monitor lizards differ greatly from other lizards in several ways, possessing a relatively high metabolic rate
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 for reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s, and several sensory adaptations that benefit the hunting of live prey. Recent research indicates the varanid lizards may have some venom
Venom
Venom is the general term referring to any variety of toxins used by certain types of animals that inject it into their victims by the means of a bite or a sting...

.
This discovery of venom in monitor lizards, as well as in agamid lizards, led to the Toxicofera
Toxicofera
Toxicofera , is a hypothetical clade which represents about 4600 species of extant squamates It encompasses all venomous reptile species, as well as numerous related non-venomous species....

 hypothesis: that all venomous lizards and snakes share a common venomous ancestor.

During the late Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 era, monitor lizards or their close relatives
Varanoidea
Varanoidea is a superfamily of lizards, including the well-known family Varanidae . Also included in the Varanoidea are such extinct marine and semi-aquatic forms as mosasaurs and dolichosaurs, the venomous helodermatids , the Lanthanotidae , and the extinct Necrosauridae.Throughout their long...

 are believed to have evolved into amphibious
Dallasaurus
Dallasaurus is a basal mosasauroid from the Upper Cretaceous of North America. The genus is based upon two partial skeletons recovered from the Arcadia Park Shale , approximately 15 meters above its contact with the older Kamp Ranch Limestone in Dallas County in north-central Texas...

 and then fully marine forms, the mosasaur
Mosasaur
Mosasaurs are large extinct marine lizards. The first fossil remains were discovered in a limestone quarry at Maastricht on the Meuse in 1764...

s, which reached lengths of up to 17 m.

Snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

s are believed to be more closely related to monitor lizards than any other type of extant reptile, but it has been proposed that snakes are sister group of the clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 of iguania
Iguania
Iguania is the suborder of Squamata that contains the iguanas, chameleons, agamids, and "New World lizards" such as anoles and Phrynosomatidae...

ns and anguimorphs
Anguimorpha
Anguimorphs of the infraorder Anguimorpha include the anguids , monitor lizards, the extinct mosasaurs, and helodermatids . The infraorder was named by Fürbringer in 1900 to include all autarchoglossans closer to Varanus and Anguis than Scincus...

.

During the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 epoch, giant monitor lizards lived in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

, the best known fossil being Varanus priscus
Megalania
Megalania is a giant extinct goanna or monitor lizard. It was part of a megafaunal assemblage that inhabited southern Australia during the Pleistocene, and appears to have disappeared around 40,000 years ago...

(formerly known as Megalania prisca). This species is an iconic member of the Pleistocene megafauna
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

 of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

Some monitor lizards, including the Komodo dragon
Komodo dragon
The Komodo dragon , also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family , it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of in rare cases...

, are capable of parthenogenesis
Parthenogenesis
Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction found in females, where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by a male...

.

Etymology

The generic
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 name Varanus is derived from the Arabic word waral ورل, (alternative spelling waran). The name comes from a common Semitic root ouran, waran, or waral meaning "lizard". The occasional habit of varanids to stand on their two hind legs and to appear to "monitor" their surroundings has been suggested to have led to this name, as it was Latinized into Varanus. Its common name is derived from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word monere meaning "to warn".

In Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 and Malayalam
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

, monitor lizards are known as udumbu, ghorpad घोरपड in Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

, uda in Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

, in Sinhalese as kabaragoya, and in Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 as Udumu. Due to confusion with the large New World lizards of the family Iguanidae
Iguanidae
Iguanidae is a family of lizards, composed of iguanas and related species.-Classification of Iguanidae:Two different classification schemes have been used to define the structure of this family. These are the "traditional" classification and the classification presented by Frost et al. .Frost et...

, the lizards became known as "goannas" in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Similarly, in South Africa they are referred to as leguaan, from the Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 for iguana
Iguana
Iguana is a herbivorous genus of lizard native to tropical areas of Central America and the Caribbean. The genus was first described in 1768 by Austrian naturalist Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti in his book Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis circa Venena...

. The generic
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 name inspired the name of the Japanese movie monster Varan
Varan
is a kaiju that first appeared in Varan the Unbelievable . Physically, Varan resembles a giant reptile with skin membranes between his arms and legs, allowing him to glide much like a flying dragon or flying squirrel; he also has a horned head....

.

Intelligence

Varanid lizards are very intelligent, and some species can even count. Careful studies feeding V. albigularis at the San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, is one of the most progressive zoos in the world, with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species...

 varying numbers of snails showed that they can distinguish numbers up to six. V. niloticus lizards have been observed to cooperate when foraging. One varanid lures the female crocodile away from her nest, while the other opens the nest to feed on the eggs. The decoy then returns to also feed on the eggs. Komodo dragon
Komodo dragon
The Komodo dragon , also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family , it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of in rare cases...

s, V. komodoensis, at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, and as part of the Smithsonian Institution, does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to provide leadership in animal care, science, education,...

 in Washington, D.C., recognize their keepers and seem to have distinct personalities.

In captivity

Monitor lizards have become a staple in the reptile pet trade. The most commonly kept monitors are the savannah monitor
Savannah monitor
The savanna monitor is a species of monitor lizard native to Africa. The species is known as Bosc's monitor in Europe, since French scientist Louis Bosc first described the species...

 and Acklin's monitor, due to their relatively small size, low cost, and relatively calm dispositions. Nile monitors, white throated monitors, water monitor
Water monitor
The Water monitor, is a large species of monitor lizard capable of growing to in length, with the average size of most adults at long. Maximum weight of Varanus salvator can be over , but most are half that size. Their body is muscular with a long, powerful, laterally compressed tail...

s, mangrove monitors, emerald tree monitor
Emerald tree monitor
The Emerald Tree monitor , or the Green Tree monitor, is a small-to-medium-sized arboreal monitor lizard. It is known for its unusual coloration, which consists of shades from green to turquoise, topped with dark, transverse dorsal banding. This coloration helps camouflage it in its arboreal habitat...

s, black tree monitors
Black tree monitor
The black tree monitor , or Beccari's monitor is a relatively small member of the Varanidae family, growing up to about in length. They inhabit the Aru Islands off New Guinea, living in an arboreal habitat...

, acanthurus monitors
Spiny-tailed monitor
The spiny-tailed monitor or ridge-tailed monitor is an Australian species of lizard belonging to the genus of monitor lizards .- Diagnosis :...

, quince monitors
Quince Monitor
The quince monitor is a species of monitor lizard, endemic to Indonesia. It is very closely related to the mangrove monitor , with both belonging to the subgenus Euprepiosaurus.-Description:...

, crocodile monitors and komodo dragon
Komodo dragon
The Komodo dragon , also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family , it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of in rare cases...

s have been kept in captivity. Like all reptiles kept as pet
Pet
A pet is a household animal kept for companionship and a person's enjoyment, as opposed to wild animals or to livestock, laboratory animals, working animals or sport animals, which are kept for economic or productive reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their loyal or playful...

s, monitors need hiding places and an appropriate substrate. Monitors also need a large water dish in which they can soak their entire bodies. In the wild, monitors will eat anything they can overpower, but cricket
Cricket (insect)
Crickets, family Gryllidae , are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets . They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets...

s, superworm
Superworm
Zophobas morio is a species of darkling beetle, whose larvae are known by the common name superworm or zophobas.Superworms are common in the reptile pet industry...

s, and the occasional rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

 make up most of the captive monitors' diet. Boiled eggs, silkworms, earthworms, and feeder fish
Feeder fish
Feeder fish is the generic name for certain types of inexpensive fish commonly fed as live prey to captive animals such as sharks, turtles and some other fish such as oscars.-Advantages of using feeder fish:...

 can also be fed to them. Paleontologist and Biology Professor at Temple University
Temple University
Temple University is a comprehensive public research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Originally founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple University is among the nation's largest providers of professional education and prepares the largest body of professional...

, Michael Balsai has observed V. prasinus eating fruit in captivity as has herpetologist and author, Robert G. Sprackland.

Culinary uses

Monitor lizards are eaten in parts of southern India and Malaysia, where their meat is considered an aphrodisiac
Aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

.

Protected status

All but five species of monitor lizard are classified by CITES (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 in order to avoid utilization incompatible with the survival of the species in the wild. The remaining five species - V. bengalensis
Bengal monitor
The Bengal monitor or common Indian monitor, is a monitor lizard found widely distributed over South Asia. This large lizard is mainly terrestrial, and grows to about 175 cm from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail...

, V. flavescens
Yellow Monitor
The Yellow Monitor, Golden Monitor,Varanus flavescens, is a species of Monitor lizard found in Asia.-Description:Varanus flavescens has subcorneal teeth, scarcely compressed. Its snout is short and convex, measuring a little less than the distance from the anterior border of the orbit to the...

, V. griseus, V. komodoensis
Komodo dragon
The Komodo dragon , also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family , it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of in rare cases...

, and V. nebulosus - are classified under CITES Appendix I, which means they are species that are threatened with extinction.

In the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n state of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 and all other parts of South India, catching or killing of monitor lizards is banned under Protected Species Act.

Classification

Genus Varanus
  • V. acanthurus
    Spiny-tailed monitor
    The spiny-tailed monitor or ridge-tailed monitor is an Australian species of lizard belonging to the genus of monitor lizards .- Diagnosis :...

    , Ridge-tailed Monitor
    • V. a. acanthurus, Spiny-tailed Monitor or Spiny-tailed Goanna
    • V. a. brachyurus, Common Ridge-tailed Monitor
    • V. a. insulanicus, Island Ridge-tailed Monitor
  • V. albigularis
    Varanus albigularis
    The rock monitor , also called the legavaan or white-throated monitor, is a species of monitor lizard found in southern Africa...

    , Rock Monitor
    • V. a. albigularis
      Varanus albigularis albigularis
      The white-throated monitor is a lizard found in southern Africa. They are usually gray-brown with yellowish or white markings, and can reach up to 2 meters in length....

      , White-throated Monitor
    • V. a. angolensis
      Varanus albigularis angolensis
      The Angolan white-throated monitor is a lizard found in Angola. They are usually gray-brown with yellowish or white markings and can reach up to 1.5 meters in length...

      , Angola White-throated Monitor
    • V. a. ionidesi
      Varanus albigularis ionidesi
      The black-throated monitor is a monitor lizard native to Tanzania. They are usually a dark gray-brown with yellowish or white markings, and can reach up to seven feet long and weigh more than sixty pounds...

      , Black-throated Monitor
  • V. auffenbergi, Peacock Monitor
  • V. baritji, Northern Ridge-tailed Goanna
  • V. beccarii
    Black tree monitor
    The black tree monitor , or Beccari's monitor is a relatively small member of the Varanidae family, growing up to about in length. They inhabit the Aru Islands off New Guinea, living in an arboreal habitat...

    , Black Tree Monitor
  • V. bengalensis
    Bengal monitor
    The Bengal monitor or common Indian monitor, is a monitor lizard found widely distributed over South Asia. This large lizard is mainly terrestrial, and grows to about 175 cm from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail...

    , Bengal Monitor [Endangered]
    • V. b. bengalensis
      Bengal monitor
      The Bengal monitor or common Indian monitor, is a monitor lizard found widely distributed over South Asia. This large lizard is mainly terrestrial, and grows to about 175 cm from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail...

      , Bengal Monitor [Endangered]
    • V. b. nebulosus
      Clouded Monitor
      The Clouded Monitor is a species of Monitor lizard, native to Burma, Thailand and Indochina to West Malaysia, Singapore, Java, and Sumatra. They are excellent tree climbers. It belongs to the subgenus Euprepiosaurus along with the Peach-throated monitor, the Ceram Mangrove monitor and other...

      , Clouded Monitor [Endangered]
  • V. bitatawa
    Varanus bitatawa
    Varanus bitatawa, known by the common name northern Sierra Madre Forest monitor lizard, is a large, arboreal, frugivorous lizard of the genus Varanus. The lizard is eaten by the Aeta and Ilongot indigenous people of the Philippines, who call it Butikaw.-Physical description:The forest monitor...

    , Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard, Bitatawa
  • V. boehmei, Golden-spotted Tree Monitor
  • V. bogerti, Bogert's Tree Monitor
  • V. brevicauda
    Short-tailed monitor
    The short-tailed monitor, or the pygmy goanna, is the smallest living monitor lizard, and may be the smallest species of monitor that has ever existed with a maximum length of 25 cm...

    , Short-tailed Monitor
  • V. bushi, Pilbara Goanna
  • V. caerulivirens, Turquoise Monitor
  • V. caudolineatus, Stripe-tailed Goanna
  • V. cerambonensis, Ceram mangrove Monitor
  • V. cumingi, Cuming's Water Monitor
  • V. doreanus, Blue-tailed Monitor
  • V. dumerilii, Dumeril's Monitor
  • V. eremius, Desert Pygmy Goanna
  • V. exanthematicus, Savannah Monitor
    Savannah monitor
    The savanna monitor is a species of monitor lizard native to Africa. The species is known as Bosc's monitor in Europe, since French scientist Louis Bosc first described the species...

  • V. finschi, Finsch's Monitor
  • V. flavescens
    Yellow Monitor
    The Yellow Monitor, Golden Monitor,Varanus flavescens, is a species of Monitor lizard found in Asia.-Description:Varanus flavescens has subcorneal teeth, scarcely compressed. Its snout is short and convex, measuring a little less than the distance from the anterior border of the orbit to the...

    , Yellow Monitor [Endangered]
  • V. giganteus
    Perentie
    The Perentie is the largest monitor lizard or goanna native to Australia, and fourth largest lizard on earth, after the Komodo Dragon, crocodile monitor and the water monitor...

    , Perentie
  • V. gilleni, Pygmy Mulga Goanna
  • V. glauerti, Kimberley Rock Monitor
  • V. glebopalma, Black-palmed Rock Monitor
  • V. gouldii
    Sand goanna
    The Sand goanna is a large Australian monitor lizard - also known as Gould's monitor, the Sand monitor, or Racehorse goanna....

    , Sand Goanna or Gould's Goanna
    • V. g. gouldi, Gould's Goanna
    • V. g. flavirufus, Desert Sand Monitor
  • V. griseus, Desert Monitor [Endangered]
    • V. g. griseus, Western Desert Monitor [Endangered]
    • V. g. caspius, Eastern Desert Monitor [Endangered]
    • V. g. koniecznyi, Thar Desert monitor [Endangered]
  • V. indicus, Mangrove Monitor
  • V. jobiensis, Peach-throat Monitor
  • V. juxtindicus, Rennell Island Monitor
  • V. keithhornei, Canopy Goanna
  • V. kingorum, King's Goanna
  • V. komodoensis
    Komodo dragon
    The Komodo dragon , also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family , it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of in rare cases...

    , Komodo Dragon [Endangered]
  • V. kordensis
    Varanus kordensis
    The Biak tree monitor is a member of the Varanidae family found on Biak Island in Indonesia. It is also known as the kordo tree monitor. Long considered a subspecies of the emerald tree monitor , most authorities now treat it as a separate species.-Description:The Biak tree monitor is mainly...

    , Kordo Tree Monitor
  • V. lirungensis
    Varanus lirungensis
    The Lirung monitor is a species of monitor lizard that lives on the Talaud Islands in Indonesia. It was recently discovered by André Koch, a German scientist from the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, during a joint German-Indonesian research project...

    , Lirung Monitor
  • V. mabitang, Panay Monitor
  • V. macraei
    Varanus macraei
    The Blue Spotted Tree Monitor, Varanus macraei, is a species of Monitor lizard found on the island of Batanta in Indonesia. It is named after Duncan MacRae, founder of the reptile park “Rimba” on Bali. -Description:...

    , Blue-spotted Tree Monitor
  • V. marmoratus
    Marbled Water Monitor
    The Marbled Water monitor, Varanus marmoratus, is a large species of monitor lizard found in the Philippines. It can reach a total length of 200 cm.-Range:...

    , Marbled Water Monitor
  • V. melinus, Quince Monitor
  • V. mertensi
    Mertens' Water Monitor
    Mertens’ Water Monitor , often misspelled Merten’s Water Monitor, is a member of the monitor lizard family found in northern Australia, and is a wide-ranging, active foraging, opportunistic predator of aquatic and riparian habitats. It is named after German herpetologist Robert...

    , Mertens' Water Monitor
  • V. mitchelli
    Mitchell's Water Monitor
    Mitchell's water monitor is a species of Monitor lizard, native to Australia. native to Australia. It was named after Francis J. Mitchell of the South Australian Museum.-Description:...

    , Mitchell's Water Monitor
  • V. nebulosus, Clouded Monitor [Endangered]
  • V. niloticus
    Nile monitor
    The Nile Monitor, Water Leguaan, or River Leguaan is a large member of the monitor lizard family ....

    , Nile Monitor
  • V. nuchalis, Spiny-necked Water Monitor
  • V. obor
    Varanus obor
    Varanus obor, the Sago or Torch Monitor, is a species of monitor lizard endemic to the Indonesian island of Sanana.-Description:...

    , Sago Monitor
  • V. olivaceus
    Gray's monitor
    Gray's monitor is a large monitor lizard known only from lowland dipterocarp forest in the east of Luzon and a few smaller adjacent islands in the Philippines such as Polillo Island, where it is locally known as the butaan. It belongs to the subgenus Philippinosaurus. It is largely arboreal and...

    , Gray's Monitor
  • V. ornatus, Ornate Monitor
  • V. palawanensis
    Varanus palawanensis
    Varanus palawanensis, is a monitor lizard endemic to the Philippines. It has been recently described by Koch, Gaulke & Böhme. It has enough differences to be considered a distinct species from the closely related water monitor, marbled water monitor, and Varanus rasmusseni...

  • V. panoptes
    Argus monitor
    The Argus monitor is a monitor lizard found in northern regions of Australia and southern New Guinea. It is also commonly known as the Yellow-spotted Monitor....

    • V. p. panoptes
      Argus monitor
      The Argus monitor is a monitor lizard found in northern regions of Australia and southern New Guinea. It is also commonly known as the Yellow-spotted Monitor....

      , Argus Monitor
    • V. p. horni, Horn's Monitor
    • V. p. rubidus, Yellow-spotted Monitor
  • V. pilbarensis, Pilbara Rock Monitor
  • V. prasinus
    Emerald tree monitor
    The Emerald Tree monitor , or the Green Tree monitor, is a small-to-medium-sized arboreal monitor lizard. It is known for its unusual coloration, which consists of shades from green to turquoise, topped with dark, transverse dorsal banding. This coloration helps camouflage it in its arboreal habitat...

    , Emerald Tree Monitor

  • V. primordius, Blunt-spined Goanna
  • Extinction
    In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

    V. priscus
    Megalania
    Megalania is a giant extinct goanna or monitor lizard. It was part of a megafaunal assemblage that inhabited southern Australia during the Pleistocene, and appears to have disappeared around 40,000 years ago...

    , Megalania
  • V. rainerguentheri
  • Varanus rasmusseni
  • V. reisingeri, Reisinger's Tree Monitor
  • V. rosenbergi, Rosenberg's Goanna or Heath Monitor
  • V. rudicollis, Black Roughneck Monitor
  • V. salvadorii, Crocodile Monitor
  • V. salvator
    Water monitor
    The Water monitor, is a large species of monitor lizard capable of growing to in length, with the average size of most adults at long. Maximum weight of Varanus salvator can be over , but most are half that size. Their body is muscular with a long, powerful, laterally compressed tail...

    , Water Monitor
    • V. s. salvator, Asian Water Monitor
    • V. s. andamanensis, Andaman Islands Water Monitor
    • V. s. bivittatus, Two-striped Water Monitor
    • V. s. komaini, Black Water Monitor
    • V. s. macromaculatus
      Varanus salvator macromaculatus
      The Southeast Asian Water Monitor is found in mainland southeast Asia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, and smaller associated offshore islands. Its type locality is Thailand.- Background :...

      , Southeast Asian Water Monitor
  • V. scalaris, Spotted Tree Goanna
  • V. semiremex, Mangrove Pygmy Goanna
  • V. spenceri, Spencer's Goanna
  • V. spinulosus, St. Isabel Mangrove Monitor
  • V. storri, Storr's Goanna
    • V. s. storri, Eastern Storr's Goanna
    • V. s. ocreatus, Western Storr's Monitor
  • V. telenesetes, Rossel Island Tree Monitor
  • V. timorensis, Timor Tree Monitor
  • V. togianus, Togian Water Monitor
  • V. tristis, Black-headed Monitor
    • V. t. orientalis, Freckled Monitor
  • V. varius
    Lace monitor
    The Lace Monitor, or Lace Goanna, Varanus varius, is a member of the monitor lizard family, Australian members of which are commonly known as goannas. It belongs to the subgenus Varanus....

    , Lace Monitor
  • V. yemenensis, Yemen Monitor
  • V. yuwonoi, Tri-colored Monitor
  • V. zugorum, Zug's Monitor

External links

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