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Morphology, Activity Area, and Movement Patterns of the frugivorous monitor lizard Varanus bitatawa

Law, SJ and De Kort, SR and van Weerd, M (2016) Morphology, Activity Area, and Movement Patterns of the frugivorous monitor lizard Varanus bitatawa. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 11 (3). pp. 467-475. ISSN 1931-7603

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Abstract

The newly described Varanus bitatawa is a large, frugivorous, monitor lizard endemic to the northern Sierra Madre mountain range in Luzon, Philippines. This study presents the first description of its ecology from tracking and camera trapping. We captured five adult lizards weighing 1.0–5.1 kg with snout-vent lengths (SVL) from 40–66 cm and total lengths from 100–164 cm. Activity areas were non-overlapping with a mean of 12,400 m2 ; males (23,300 m2 ) had larger activity areas than females (5,200 m2 ). Capture and camera trap records indicate that lizards move most frequently between 1000 and 1500. Movements were characterized by straight line distances between trees with a mean distance travelled between trees of 79 m. Mean daily distance covered was 176 m with larger distances covered by males (228 m vs 142 m for females).

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