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Sex Ratio, Population Density and Home Range of the Desert Monitor (Varanus griseus) in the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel

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During a two-year study of the desert monitor (Varanus griseus) in a sand dune area south of the greater Tel Aviv area 21 adult monitors (8 males and 13 females) were captured and marked. Nine of the above monitors were equipped with radio transmitters, and were followed telemetrically for one year. The telemetered monitors maintained definite home ranges: 0.984 ± 0.165 km2, n = 4 for males and 0.319 ± 0.18 km2, n = 5 for females. The home range areas increased with the number of locations, reaching maxima after 30-70 locations. A considerable overlap of home ranges, between and within sexes, indicated that the species is not territorial. Varanus griseus forages over distances of 2 km or more. These forays often take the lizard through several habitats: unstabilized dunes, dense vegetation, construction areas, ruderal areas and a municipal garbage dump. A sex ratio of 1:1.6 (males:females) differs from that found in many previous Varanus studies.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel


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