Varanus varius (*)
Varanus varius (Shaw, 1790)
* Varanus varius Report on ITIS
The Lace Monitor, or Lace Goanna, Varanus varius, is a member of the monitor lizard family, Australian members of which are commonly known as goannas.
Lace Monitors, are also known as Lace Goannas in Australia and are the second-largest monitor in Australia after the Perentie. They can be as long as 2.1 metres (over 6ft 10ins) with a head and body length of up to 76.5 cm (2½ ft). The tail is long and slender and about 1.5 times the length of the head and body. Maximum weight of lace monitor can be 20 kg.(44lb), but most adults are much smaller.
These common terrestrial and often arboreal monitors are found in eastern Australia and range from Cape Bedford on Cape York Peninsula to south-eastern South Australia. They frequent both open and closed forests and forage over long distances (up to 3 km a day).
They are mainly active from September to May, but are inactive in cooler weather and shelter in a tree hollow or under a fallen tree or large rock.
The females lay from 4 to 14 eggs in spring or summer in termite nests. They frequently attack the large composting nests of Scrub Turkeys to steal their eggs, and often show injuries on their tails inflicted by male Scrub Turkeys pecking at them to drive them away.
Their diet typically consists of insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and birds' eggs. They are also carrion eaters, feeding on already dead carcasses of other wildlife. Lace monitors will also forage in areas inhabited by people, raiding chicken coops for poultry and eggs, rummaging through unprotected domestic garbage bags, and trash cans in picnic and recreational areas.
Like all Australian goannas, they were a favourite traditional food of Australian Aboriginal peoples and their fat was particularly valued as a medicine and for use in ceremonies
Lace monitors are found in two broad forms. The main form is dark grey to dull blueish black with numerous scattered cream spots. The snout is marked with prominent black and yellow bands extending under the chin and neck. The tail has narrow black and cream bands which are narrow and get wider towards the end of the tail.
The other type, known as "Bells Form", is found in dryer parts of NSW and Queensland. It has simple broad black and yellow bands across the whole body and tail.
In late 2005, University of Melbourne researchers discovered that Perenties (Varanus giganteus) and other lizards, may be somewhat venomous. Previously, it had been thought that bites inflicted by these lizards were simply prone to infection because of bacteria in the lizards' mouths, but these researchers have shown that the immediate effects may be caused by mild envenomation. Bites on human digits by a Lace Monitor (Varanus varius), a Komodo Dragon (V. komodoensis) and a Spotted Tree Monitor (V. scalaris) have been observed and all produced similar results in humans: rapid swelling within minutes, localised disruption of blood clotting, shooting pain up to the elbow, with some symptoms lasting for several hours.
1. ^ Ehmann, Harald. Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles, p. 158. (1992). The Australian Museum. ISBN 0-207-17379-6 (Reptiles).
* King, Dennis & Green, Brian. 1999. Goannas: The Biology of Varanid Lizards. University of New South Wales Press. ISBN 0-86840-456-X
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License