Sunday, July 3, 2011

Varanus Caerulivirens Indonesia Lizard Species

Varanus Caerulivirens Indonesia Species Despite having been described so recently (Ziegler et al., 1999), the turquoise monitor  is widely distributed in the northern Moluccas and is actually often quite common in suitable habitats.

Varanus Caerulivirens Distribution 
The type locality for Varanus caerulivirens is the northern Moluccan island of Halmahera, and the only
precise locality previously published is Patani at the far eastern tip of that island (Ziegler et al., 2004). A specimen collected on Morotai in 1944 (BYU 7477) confirms its presence on that island. Investigations on Halmahera found the species to be widely distributed throughout the lowlands up to about 700 m elevation in all but the most disturbed forested habitats. Several sightings were also made in primary forests in Gunung Sibela on the island of Bacan, and this species is expected to be widespread on that island. No observations were made on Kasiruta, a large island just west of Bacan, although considering the close proximity between these islands it is likely that they do occur there.

Varanus Caerulivirens

This Varanus Caerulivirens species was also recorded in the field on Obi for the first time, an island separated from Halmahera by almost 60 km of open sea. On Obi, they are sympatric with V. rainerguentheri and V. cf. salvator. Investigations on Gebe strongly suggest that V. caerulivirens does not
reach that island, most likely making east Halmahera and Morotai the eastern limit for its range.

Varanus Caerulivirens Ecology
A total of 59 observations of V. caerulivirens were made during almost five months of work throughout  its range. This species is a forest generalist and occurs in most non-salt water influenced forest types: from
coastal forest and beach vegetation, plantations, primary and secondary lowland forests, limestone-, alluvial-
, hill- and mountain forests up to at least 600-650 m elevation. They are often found basking around small
clearings. Occasionally, specimens are encountered while patrolling freshwater streams, and on one occasion,
two specimens were observed near a lake at over 600 m elevation.

Varanus Caerulivirens

This Varanus Caerulivirens is most often encountered while actively foraging through the leaf litter layer of the forest floor, and stomach content analysis reveals that they consume burrowing animals such as earthworms, mole crickets, etc. They almost invariably seek refuge in trees when frightened by or pursued by humans and use tree cavities as night refugees, and probably for nesting as well. The claws and scales of the feet are well adapted for climbing and they make much use of tree trunks and canopies for basking, sometimes even jumping from one tree to the other.

No significant difference in habitat utilization could be observed between juveniles and adults - both were
equally terrestrial and arboreal, though admittedly far fewer sightings were made of small vs. large individuals.
It is possible that younger individuals make more extensive use of tree hollows. Dissection of sexually mature specimens revealed males to have enlarged testes throughout the year,suggesting that reproduction takes place year-round. The largest adult specimen measured 110 cm in total length,which is probably near maximum size.


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