The Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi, Indonesia
Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is the 11th largest island of the world and represents the largest landmass of the Wallacea biodiversity hotspot in Central Indonesia. Due to its geographic position and spatial isolation, Sulawesi harbours a unique mixture of typical Asian and Australian species with a high degree of endemism. The herpetofauna of Sulawesi has long been neglected despite various contributions by earlier scientists. Therefore, the goal of the project is to enhance our knowledge about the diversity and biology of the amphibians and reptiles of this interesting island.
Diversity, Biology and Conservation of Monitor Lizards (Reptilia: Varanidae)
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 recognized 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.