Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Although primarily a terrestrial species, the white throated monitor will climb trees to hunt for prey, to reproduce, and to avoid predators (3). If confronted on the ground by a predator, such as a honey badger, it will puff up its throat and body, lash out with its tail, and bite violently (3) (5). During the summer it is active throughout the day, except during midday in regions where temperatures are extremely high (3). It hunts for a wide range of prey and will eat just about anything it can subdue, from snakes, birds and eggs, to snails, millipedes and grasshoppers (3) (5). Although the white-throated monitor remains alert during the winter months, it is far less active and generally remains in its overnight refuge, which usually takes the form of an earth burrow or hollow tree trunk (3). During the breeding season, receptive females almost always climb into trees. Once a male locates a female, the pair will mate for one to two days before the male goes in search of another female (3). Each year, a female may lay two clutches of up to 50 eggs (5).
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Description

The white throated-monitor is one of almost 60 species of powerfully built lizards belonging to the genus Varanus. All monitor lizards are recognised for their elongate bodies, strong limbs, muscular tails and robust claws (2). The body pattern of the white throated monitor comprises dark rosettes with a cream coloured centre that gradually merge with age to give the impression of bands around the ribcage. While the head is solid grey or brown above, the throat is much lighter, hence this species' common name (3). The snout of this monitor lizard is also distinctively blunt and bulbous, particularly in adults (3) (4). Until 1989 the white-throated monitor and the savanna monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) were considered to be the same species. Following their separation, three geographically separated subspecies of the white-throated monitor have been described: Varanus albigularis albigularis; V. a. angolensis: and V. a. microstictus (3).
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Distribution

Continent: Africa
Distribution: Namibia, Botswana, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Tanzania,S Ethiopia, S Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)  albigularis: Southern Africa, northwards to Angola, Zambia and Mozambique;
Type locality: unknown.  angolensis: Angola, Zambia, neighboring areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Katanga);
Type locality: Gauca, Biha, Angola.  microstictus: Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania;
Type locality: “Abessinien" (= Ethiopia)
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Range

The white throated-monitor has a wide distribution through south-western, south-central, and eastern Africa (3).
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Ecology

Habitat

Found in grassland, scrub and woodland habitats (3).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Listed on Appendix II of CITES (1).
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Threats

Although the white-throated monitor is widespread and common, it is occasionally targeted by humans for food (5), and is probably affected by habitat loss and fragmentation.
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Management

Conservation

There are no specific conservation measures in place for the white-throated monitor but it is listed on Appendix II of CITES, which makes it an offence to trade this species without a permit (1).
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Wikipedia

Rock monitor

The rock monitor (Varanus albigularis), also called the legavaan or white-throated monitor, is a species of monitor lizards especially found in Southern Africa. It is the second-longest lizard found on the continent, and the heaviest bodied.

Taxonomy[edit]

First described by François Marie Daudin in 1802,[1] these lizards were previously classified as a subspecies of Varanus exanthematicus,[3] but have since been declared a distinct species based upon differences in hemipenal morphology.[4] The generic name Varanus is derived from the Arabic word waral ورل, which is translated to English as "monitor". Their specific name comes from a compound of two Latin words: albus meaning "white" and gula meaning "throat".

The subspecies of V. albigularis are:

Description[edit]

This is the heaviest-bodied lizard in Africa, as adult males average about 6 to 8 kg (13 to 18 lb) and females weigh from 3.2 to 5 kg (7.1 to 11 lb).[6][7][8] Large mature males can attain 15 to 17 kg (33 to 37 lb).[9] It is the second longest African lizard after the Nile monitor, Varanus albigularis reaches 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) in length, with its tail and body being of equal size.[10] Mature specimens more typically will measure 0.85 to 1.5 meters (2 ft 9 in to 4 ft 11 in).[7][9] The head and neck are the same length, and are distinct from each other.[11] Their bulbous, convex snouts give an angular, box-like appearance. Their forked tongues are pink or bluish,[11] and their scales are usually a mottled gray-brown with yellowish or white markings.[11]

Intelligence[edit]

An intelligent lizard, several specimens have demonstrated the ability to count as high as six in an experiment conducted by Dr. John Philips at the San Diego Zoo in 1999.[12] Philips offered varying numbers of snails, and the monitors were able to distinguish numbers whenever one was missing.[13][14]

Distribution[edit]

This monitor ranges in these areas: Central Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo/Zaire), Southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola), the African Great Lakes (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania), and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia).[11] It is found in a variety of dry habitats, including steppes, prairies, and savannahs, but is absent from desert interiors, rainforests, and thick scrub forests.[11]

Folklore[edit]

People living with the HIV/AIDS virus in Yumbe district of Uganda have been injecting themselves with the blood of rock monitors, which they believe to be a cure for the virus.[15] Most are discontinuing anti-retroviral therapy to pursue this anecdotal treatment.[15] As a result, V. albigularis is reported to have become an expensive item in the Ugandan black market, selling for more than US$175 each.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Daudin, F. M. (1802). Histoire Naturelle, génerale et particulièredes reptiles, ouvrage faisant suite, a l'histoiure naturelle, générale et particulière composée par LECLERC DE BUFFON, et redigée par C. S. SONNINI, vol. 3. F. Dufart, Paris.
  2. ^ "Varanus albigularis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 22 August 2008. 
  3. ^ Laurent,R.F. 1964. A new subspecies of Varanus exanthematicus (Sauria, Varanidae). Breviora 199: 1–5
  4. ^ Bohme, W. (1991). New finding on the hemipenal morphology of monitor lizards and their systematic implications. Mertensiella, 2, 42–49.
  5. ^ http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Varanus&species=albigularis
  6. ^ "White Throated Monitor - Varanus albigularis". Reptiliana: Ultimate Reptile Resource. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  7. ^ a b "African Savannah Monitor - Varanus exanthematicus albigularis". WAZA : World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  8. ^ MLA Gardner, B. R., and M. G. Barrows. "Yolk coelomitis in a white-throated monitor lizard (Varanus albigularis)." Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 81.2 (2010): 121-122. APA Gardner, B. R., & Barrows, M. G. (2010). Yolk coelomitis in a white-throated monitor lizard (Varanus albigularis). Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, 81(2), 121-122. Chicago Gardner, B. R., and M. G. Barrows. Yolk coelomitis in a white-throated monitor lizard (Varanus albigularis). Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 81, no. 2 (2010): 121-122. Import into BibTeX Import into EndNote Import into RefMan Import into RefWorks.
  9. ^ a b "Varanus albigularis". Monitor-Lizards.net. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  10. ^ Carruthers, Vincent (June 5, 2008). The Wildlife of Southern Africa: The Larger Illustrated Guide to the Animals and Plants of the Region. South Africa: Struik Publishers. p. 320. ISBN 978-1-77007-199-5. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Alexander, Grahm; Marais, Johan (2008). A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa. South Africa: Struik Publishers. p. 408. ISBN 978-1-77007-386-9. 
  12. ^ Pianka, Eric R.; Vitt, Laurie J. (2003). Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity (Organisms and Environments, 5) 5 (1 ed.). California: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23401-7 
  13. ^ King, Dennis & Green, Brian. (1999). Goannas: The Biology of Varanid Lizards. University of New South Wales Press. ISBN 0-86840-456-X, p. 43.
  14. ^ The Weekend Australian. July 24–25, 1999, p. 12.
  15. ^ a b c "Ugandans turn to varanid lizard blood for AIDS cure". BIAWAK (INTERNATIONAL VARANID INTEREST GROUP) 2 (1). 2/1/2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27 

Further reading[edit]

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