Vital Bone Marking of Desert Monitor (Varanus griseus Daud.) in Nature

É. M. Smirina, Alexey Yu. Tsellarius


The vital bone marking by oxytetracycline was used for investigation of the periodicity of growth layers formation in Varanus griseus bones. The experiment was conducted in the vicinity of the Kyzylkum Natural Preserve (Western Kyzylkum desert). Oxytetracycline in salt solution was injected intramuscularly in desert monitor’s femur with dosage: 15–20 mg/kg of body weight. Eight marked specimens were caught in a year after the injection. The tetracycline labels were seen in ultra-violet light in cross ground sections of distal part of phalanges of all the lizards. The experiment (1) revealed great differences in the time of the beginning of growth after hibernation; (2) confirmed the annual pattern of growth layers formation in the bone of Varanus griseus; and (3) demonstrated individual variability of annual bone increments in specimens of the same age.


Varanidae; Varanus griseus; bone marking; recording structures; aging; skeletochronology

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