Varanus tristis — Black-headed Monitor
Some other names for this species:
Subspecies I've seen:
V. t. orientalis
Varanus tristis orientalis — Freckled Monitor
This lizard crossed our path just as we were pulling into a parking lot to admire a waterfall. After moving off the pavement and into the leaf litter, it paused just long enough for me to get this one photo before heading off into the bush. I had a hard time identifying this lizard, and eventually concluded that it was probably Varanus glebopalma due to the rusty head and long dark tail. Thanks to herpetologist Sam Sweet for correcting this misidentification. I had foolishly thought that “Black-headed Monitors” would have black heads, but it turns out that this common name is really only appropriate for southern populations of this species; the ones in the Kakadu area have brown heads.
Ive written up an account of this three-week trip to Australia here.
- Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition
- Pianka, E. R., King, D. R., King, R. A. 2004. Varanoid Lizards of the World
- Wilson, S. K., Knowles, D. 1988. Australia's Reptiles: A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia
- Wilson, S. and Swan, G. 2017. A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Fifth Edition