Ornate monitor

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Ornate monitor
OrnateMonitor.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Subgenus: Polydaedalus
Species: V. ornatus
Binomial name
Varanus ornatus
(Daudin, 1803)

The ornate monitor (Varanus ornatus) is a species of monitor lizards native to West Africa.[1] They live in lowland rainforests.[2] It belongs to the subgenus Polydaedalus along with the Nile monitor, the savannah monitor, and other monitors.

Description[edit]

Detail of head and claws

The back is dark - olive green to black - with cross bands of yellow or cream color ocelli plus additional bands on the tail. The ventral side is yellowish with gray banding. The number of ocelli bands on the body, four or five, distinguishes V. ornatus from V. niloticus which has from six to nine. The markings fade somewhat as the animal matures. [3] [4] Ornate monitors are quite large and can grow up to two meters in length. Until 1997, they were considered a subspecies of the Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus), but then were assigned to a separate species.

They feed on crabs, insects, centipedes, and small rodents.[5] They also scavenge, feeding on carrion and dried carcasses. [3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Varanus ornatus
  2. ^ Pianka, E.R. and King, D.R. (2004) Varanoid lizards of the world. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.
  3. ^ a b "Ornate Nile monitor". Toronto Zoo. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  4. ^ "Nile monitor, Water leguaan". Mampam Conservation. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  5. ^ Lizards of Southeast Asia : Clouded Monitor - Varanus bengalensis nebulosus