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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Endemic Lizards on stamps by Philippines

The Philpost has issued a set of stamps featuring Philippine Endemic Lizards. The information and photos were supplied by Arvin C. Diesmos, PhD. Herpetology Section, Zoology Division, National Museum of the Philippines.

The Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard, Varanus bitatawa, is presently the largest species of monitor lizard known from the Philippines. Adult specimens may reach a total length of over 180 centimeters.

Varanus bitatawa is an arboreal species, spending most of its time in the forest canopy and sub-canopy. It inhabits intact low-elevation rainforests from near sea level up to an elevation of about 500 meters. It is the third known species of monitor lizard in the world that is frugivorous (fruit-eating). The other two species (Varanus mabitang Gaulke & Curio, 2001 and Varanus olivaceus Hallowell, 1859) are both found only in the Philippines.