varanoidea

The Earless Monitor Lizard (Lanthanotus borneensis) is a small, semiaquatic varanoid lizard, placed within its own monotypic family, Lanthanotidae. It is the closest known relative of the monitor lizards (Varanidae), and is found only in some secluded areas of northern Borneo. It is covered with smooth, keeled scales that aid it in watery habitats. They are predominantly nocturnal, emerging only at night to hunt their chosen prey of bugs and fossorial invertebrates like earthworms.

This obscure and poorly-understood lizard has not been evaluated by the IUCN.

Pic: by Ch'ien C. Lee

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Marine Reptile Month #18 – Plotosaurus

Late Cretaceous period (72-66 mya)

Plotosaurus was one of the most “advanced” mosasaurs in terms of anatomical adaptations, with a highly streamlined body and a large tail fin enabling it to swim at high speeds as a pursuit predator. It grew to lengths of between 9 and 13m (25'6"-42'8"), and probably fed on fish, ammonites, smaller marine reptiles, and aquatic birds – swallowing them almost whole thanks to snake-like flexible jaws.

And, yes, mosasaurs almost certainly had forked tongues. Based on their evolutionary relationships to varanoids and snakes, it’s also possible that they might have been venomous, too.

Color palette used: “Poesie