Chordates •

Lace monitor

(Varanus varius)



The lace monitor or tree goanna (Varanus varius) is a member of the monitor lizard family native to eastern Australia. A large lizard, it can reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in total length and 14 kilograms (31 lb) in weight. The lace monitor is considered to be a least-concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The second-largest monitor in Australia after the perentie, the lace monitor can reach 2 m (7 ft) in total length, or 76.5 cm snout–vent length (SVL), and weigh up to 14 kg (30 lb). The male reaches sexual maturity when it has a SVL of 41.5 cm. Females are generally smaller than males, with a maximum SVL of 57.5 cm, and becoming sexually mature at a SVL of 38.5 cm. The tail is long and slender and about 1.5 times the length of the head and body. The tail is cylindrical at its base, but becomes laterally compressed towards the tip. Historically, it has been described as growing as much as 8 ft long. Regardless of the accuracy of these reports, lace monitors of such size likely no longer exist. Lace monitors are found in two forms. The main form is dark grey to dull bluish-black with numerous, scattered, cream-coloured spots. The head is black and the snout is marked with prominent black and yellow bands extending under the chin and neck. The tail has narrow black and cream bands, which are narrow and get wider towards the end of the tail. Juveniles have more defined and prominent banding, with five narrow black bands on the neck and eight bands on the body. The other type, known as Bell's form, is typically found in west of the Great Dividing Range from Woodgate, Eidsvold, and Mitchell in Queensland to Bourke, Macksville and Port Macquarie in New South Wales. It has also been reported from Healesville, Rushworth, and Murchison in Victoria and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. It has a base colour of yellow-brown or yellow with fine black mottling and broad, black or dark brown bands from the shoulders to the tail. The top of the head is black. These common terrestrial and often arboreal monitors are found in eastern Australia and range from Cape Bedford on Cape York Peninsula to south-eastern South Australia. They frequent both open and closed forests and forage over long distances (up to 3 km (1.9 mi) a day). The lace monitor is considered to be a least-concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Reptilia
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