CLASSIFICATION OF VARANUS : MONITOR LIZARD
PHYLUM :- CHORDATA (Notochord, dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill slits present )
Group :- CRANIATA ( Definite head. Cranium with brain present )
Sub-phylum :- VERTEBRATA ( vertebral column present)
Division :- GNATHOSTOMATA ( Jaws and paired appendages present )
Super class :- TETRAPODA ( Paired limbs, lungs, bony skeleton and cornified skin)
Class :- REPTILIA ( Scaly vertebrates with right and left aortic arches. Single condyle, pulmonary respiration. Embryo with amnion and allantois ).
Sub-class :- DIAPSIDA ( Skull with two temporal openings separated by postorbital and squamosal ).
Order :- SQUAMATA ( Lizards and snakes with horny epidermal scales or shields. Quadrate bone movable. Vertebrae procoelous. Anal opening transverse).
Sub-order :- SAURIA ( Lizards. Body slender, limbs 4. Pterygoid in contact with quadrate. Eyelids movable )
FAMILY :- VARANIDAE ( Large trunk. Limbs stout. Tongue bifid. ).
GENUS :- Varanus
Varanus is widely distributed from Afghanistan to Java, including southeastern Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, southern Nepal, Bhutan, and China, North and South Vietnam, Laos, and islands in the Strait of Malacca and the Greater Sunda Islands.
HABIT AND HABITAT
Varanus inhabits dry places under stones and rocks and leads a burrowing life. It is most active at night and feeds upon tortoises, squirrels and dead bodies of other animals. Monitor lizards are carnivorous and semiaquatic.
GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF VARANUS : MONITOR LIZARD
- Commonly known as Monitor lizard.
- Animal measuring 60 to 90 cm in length is divided into head, neck, trunk and tail.
- Body is covered with smooth, small scales having large brownish, black and orange patches, which act like warning colours.
- Head is triangular and contains fixed eyes, nostrils and mouth. External ear opening present just behind head.
- Mouth gap wide with a long bifid smooth and protrusible tongue. Teeth large pointed, pleurodont and dilated at base.
- Osteoderms absent. Post-orbital arch incomplete.
- Trunk is large and stout. Tail is long thickened and serves as storehouse for fat.
- Forelimbs and hind limbs are stout, well developed and adapted for swift movement, but they can hardly lift the body up from the ground. Digits are clawed.
Although monitor lizards do secrete venom, it is not fatal to humans. The main cause for concern would be bacterial infection from the bite.
The animal has elongated trunk and tail and above features, hence it is Varanus.