The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
is a research museum of the Leibniz Association
Link to Leibniz Association
Monitor lizards are the largest living lizards. Although morphologically uniform, monitor lizards show remarkable differences in body size ranging from a mere 20 cm to more than three meters in total length. In addition, they show a wide range of ecological adaptations being terrestrial, arboreal or semi-aquatic. They inhabit Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, South and Southeast Asia as well as the Indo-Australian Archipelago including Australia and several remote Pacific island groups.
Today, about 80 different species of monitor lizards are recognised but their diversity is still not completely known with new species being discovered in a regular manner. These remarkable giant reptiles, though of enormous economic importance in the international trade with reptile leather products and pets, as well as for spiritual relationships between human being and nature and as source of protein for the native people in their countries of origin, are an impressive example of our limited knowledge about the global biodiversity. Therefore, it is the intention of this project to remedy this severe deficiency at least partly.