And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wodgina - The Varanids

Yellow-spotted Monitor

The Pilbara area is always great for different Varanids or 'Goannas', so when we saw this Yellow-spotted Monitor (Varanus panoptes) on the first day at Wodgina, we hoped it was going to be a good survey with lots of monitors. We weren't disappointed!

Pygmy Desert Monitor

One of the more common small varanids of the area, a Pygmy Desert Monitor (Varanus eremius).

About 46cm long, reddish brown with pale and dark spots and striped tail, tells us he's a V.eremius.

Stii a bit cold from the cool morning.

Nice black throat markings.

What a fantastic animal.

Varanus bushi

A recent split from the Pygmy Mulga Monitor (V. gilleni), this little monitor has no common name yet, just Varanus bushi.

He's only found in this area of the Pilbara, is 35cm and has brown elongate marks on his back.

Here you can see his Parietal Eye clearly. What is it? The parietal eye is a photosensory organ connected to the pineal body, active in triggering hormone production (including reproduction) and thermoregulation. It is sensitive to changes in light and dark, it does not form images, having only a rudimentary retina and lens. It is visible as an opalescent gray spot on the top of some lizard's heads; also referred to as "pineal eye" or "third eye."

Pilbara Rock Monitor

This must be the most beautiful varanid in Australia, a Pilbara Rock Monitor (Varanus pilbarensis).

He looks like an aboriginal painting or some type of stuffed toy. He's normally hard to find as he lives in deep rock crevices, but here his is flat out getting some heat from the warm rock.

Spiny-tailed Monitor

Another common monitor of the Pilbara area, a Spiny-tailed Monitor (Varanus acanthurus). An unsual find on this sandy trap site as he normally lives among rocky areas and uses his hard spiny tail to wedge himself in the rocks if something tries to get him.

He's only a young guy as they grow to 63cm long. Easy to id this varanid as he has a spiny tail, creams spots on his back and pale stripes on the neck.

Gould's Goanna

Different neck and back markings and a smooth tail on this young Gould's Goanna (Varanus gouldii).

I love the wonderful faces on the small monitors and always look forward to catching them.


Sciarada said...

Ciao Richard, these varanids are camouflaged perfectly into surrounding, it is beautiful

Kay said...

This is very interesting and the photos are excellent! I always enjoy your blog.

Phil said...

Hi Richard
Pretty cool to have all those lizardy things. Here in the NW of the UK we are lucky to see a Common Lizard. Nice photos.

madibirder said...

Good collection of Monitors.

elvira pajarola said...

What scenery.........Wild nature and these gorgeous animals......FABULOUS!!!!!!!

Wonderful Photography of these Varans!

Here in Tuscany we have got the little "cousins" of your "bigger"ones in Australia...!

ciao ciao elvira

Richard King said...

Thanks everyone. The varanids are wonderful and we are lucky here to have so many interesting species.