Friday, June 10, 2011

Sierra Madre Forest Monitor

The Sierra Madre forest monitor (Varanus bitatawa) is a species of monitor lizard found in Sierra Madre of Philippines.  It belongs to the genus Varanus.  It is also called the golden spotted monitor.  

Physical Features
The head of the Sierra Madre forest monitor
Despite growing more than 2 meters (6.6 feet), this lizard weighs only 10 kilograms.  These forest monitors are very brightly colored with stripes of yellow dots and flecks.  Their legs are blackish-blue in color.  The tail is alternately colored with green and black.

Behavior and Diet 
The Sierra Madre forest monitor belongs to the same family as the Komodo dragon.  Surprisingly, the Sierra Madre forest monitor, is a frugivorous unlike other monitors.  They spend a lot f time on trees, overlooking the forest floor.  It camouflages on trees so that it is not spotted by any predator.  Their diet consists of Pandanus fruit, figs, Pili nut fruits and the occasional a snail.  Scientists do not think they have venom as they are not carnivores and therefore it will be no use producing venom.

Discovery and Distribution
The Sierra Madre forest monitor has a limited range in an island called Luzon island.  Even though this monitor is 2 meters long, it was discovered only in 2010.  It was discovered by scientist Brown along with other scientists.  Brown says that it was not discovered all these years as the forests in Northern part of the Luzon island was not explored much.  Many people say it was already known to local hunters.

Source of pic 1 and pic 2

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