Chordates •

Varanus salvadorii

(Varanus salvadorii)


Varanus salvadorii is a species of monitor lizard endemic to New Guinea. Its common names include crocodile monitor, Papua(n) monitor, Salvadori's monitor and artellia. It is the largest monitor lizard known from New Guinea, and is one of the longest lizards in the world, verified at up to 244 cm (8 ft). The tail of the species is exceptionally long, so that some specimens have been claimed to exceed the length of the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon; however, Varanus salvadorii is far less massive. Varanus salvadorii is an arboreal lizard with a dark green body marked with bands of yellowish spots. It has a characteristic blunt snout and a very long tail. It lives in mangrove swamps and coastal rainforests in the southeastern part of the island, feeding on birds, small mammals, eggs, and carrion. Its teeth are better adapted than those of most monitors for seizing fast-moving prey. Like all monitors, Varanus salvadorii has anatomical features that enable it to breathe more easily when running than other lizards can, but it may have even greater stamina than most other monitor species. Little is known of its reproduction and development, as the species is difficult to breed in captivity. Varanus salvadorii is threatened by deforestation and poaching, and is protected by the CITES agreement. The lizard is hunted and skinned alive by tribesmen to make drums, who describe the monitor as an evil spirit that "climbs trees, walks upright, breathes fire, and kills men"; yet the tribesmen maintain that the monitor gives warnings if there are crocodiles nearby.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Reptilia
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