Tetrapod Zoology

Desktop herping

i-20282a7a48d9cec6ac6913a7d20d2214-6-4-2008 flash and without.jpg

It’s going to be a busy month, what with the run-up to ‘Dinosaurs – A Historical Perspective’, and other stuff. So I regret I haven’t had time to knock up any new articles: but hey, I know you don’t mind what with the recent ‘mammals are amphisbaenians’ article, and the panda stuff. So…

I figured I might try and get the whole ‘picture of the day’ thing going again. So here we go with some lizards, and the game – if you want to play – is to identify the species. It’s dead easy and I’ve provided the answers before anyway! The pictures above show the same animal photographed with and without a flash: what a ridiculous difference, and unfortunately neither accurately depicts the real colouration of the animal.


And here’s another one. Remember, you only get points for identifying the animals to species. Incidentally, I’m currently planning to attend the CEE’s* ‘Modern Approaches to Functional Anatomy’ workshop on 23rd April at the Natural History Museum (London) – in fact it seems we have quite a contingent of Tet Zoo regulars attending. More info here. Am also hoping to attend this year’s Rhino May Day on May 14th at the Huxley Conference Theatre, London Zoo (attended last year and enjoyed it), though that’s dangerously close to ‘Dinosaurs – A Historical Perspective’. Have also got herpetological field trips, a talk and lots of TV stuff to do over the next few weeks, yikes. All will be reported here. Coming soon: Britain’s ornithischians, testudine-fest, and aetogate: the saga continues…

* Centre for Ecology & Evolution


  1. #1 Alec T
    April 7, 2008

    Well, the second one could be Varanus rudicollis or Varanus beccari

  2. #2 Hai~Ren
    April 7, 2008

    1) Gerrhosaurus major
    2) Varanus rudicollis

    If not, it’s either a ropen, gorgonopsian, or albino squirrel.

  3. #3 mo hassan
    April 7, 2008

    I agree, the first one is Gerrhosaurus major … I know the second one is a monitor but which one I can’t be sure, I’ll go with Varanus jobiensis as a complete guess

    I wasn’t aware of the functional anatomy workshop, but I should be there if I can tear myself away from exam revision for a while!

  4. #4 Emile
    April 7, 2008

    The cordylid is Gerrhosaurus major. I’m not too good at varanids, but I’ll guess Varanus rudicollis from the rough scales on its neck. It may be a secondarily legged amphisbaenian, but I doubt it.

  5. #5 Andreas Johansson
    April 7, 2008

    Clearly it’s an albino ropenid gorgonopian!

  6. #6 Ethan Kocak
    April 7, 2008

    Everyone beat me to it. But no one posted the common name with it, so I’ll contribute that: usually they’re called Sudanese plated lizards.

  7. #7 Natan Slifkin
    April 7, 2008

    Sudanese giant plated lizard!

  8. #8 Zach Miller
    April 7, 2008

    I’d always called them armadillo lizards. I’ve seen them in pet stores–surprisingly large lizards! At a pet store in Kansas, I saw (and should have bought) a blue-tongued skink. It was HUGE, with comically tiny legs. They also had a fully grown bull panther chameleon, which was also enormous. Each squamate was $200, but I think the skink, at least, would’ve been worth it. I have bad luck with chameleons…*

    *My first Jackson was old when I bought him, but he lasted like three years before succuming to old age. My second Jackson was a baby when I bought him, and he died a few months later from a stomach bug that my vet believes he left the pet store with.

  9. #9 David Marjanovi?
    April 7, 2008

    Sudanese giant plated lizard!

    Wannabe aŽtosaur.

    Also, remarkably similar to many 20th-century reconstructions of ankylosaurs. Especially a certain “Scolosaurus“.

  10. #10 Anthony Docimo
    April 7, 2008

    water monitor..maybe, maybe goanna.

  11. #11 Stephen Zozaya
    April 7, 2008

    The last one is definitely a Varanus rudicollis. The neck and snout are a dead give away. Varanus beccarii is much less robust than V. rudicollis and has a very distinct snout. If you ever do a post on monitors let me know, I have a huge library of goanna photos, especially of those in the Euprepiosaurus subgenus. Treemonitors for the win! (W00t V. reisingeri!)

  12. #12 Susan
    April 8, 2008

    I guess I’ll give it a try. Photo a: gerrhosaurus major photo b: varanus niloticus or maybe a young varanus komodoensis. I want to see more photos of geckos, they’re cuter.

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