Aging, Longevity, and Growth of the Desert Monitor Lizard (Varanus griseus Daud.)

É. M. Smirina, Alexey Yu. Tsellarius


The material was sampled in 1992 – 1993 in the Western Kyzylkum desert. A sample of 67 Varanus griseus was analyzed for age determination by bone layers, and the growth rate pattern was investigated. The formation of layers in the penultimate digit phalanges of desert monitors reflects seasonal periodicity of lizard’s growth. The indefinite and polyphase seasonal growth rhythm is mainly characteristic of young lizards up to maturation. After maturation the growth rhythms become more regular. The maximum age of desert monitors was 12 – 14 years in males and 6 – 7 years in females. The most part of oldest monitors was characterized by the slow growth rate during the first years of life. High individual variability in the growth rates and in the clarity of record of the growth pattern by bone tissue was detected.


Varanus griseus; aging; longevity; growth; skeletochronology

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