Comparative morphology of Western Australian varanid lizards (Squamata: Varanidae)

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Abstract

Varanid lizards, which vary considerably in body mass both interspecifically and intraspecifically, are generally considered to be morphologically similar. However, significant and non-isometric variation in the relative appendage dimensions for 17 species of Western Australian goannas suggest that these lizards are not morphologically conservative. The first and second canonical variates clearly distinguish the two subgeneral Odatria and Varanus, and species are generally sexually dimorphic. The morphological variation observed among these 17 species of goanna is associated with foraging mode and ecology. However, no single or small group of morphological dimensions discriminates phylogenetic groups, sexes, or ecological groups, and body size is an important component in these analyses. (C) 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-152
JournalJournal of Morphology
Volume233
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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