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World’s Smallest Varanus Lizard Species Discovered in Australia

December 31, 2014



A new species of Varanus lizard has been discovered in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum announced today. The lizard, named the Dampier Peninsula Goanna (Varanus sparnus) has only been found from the peninsula north of Broome and Derby in Western Australian.


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Varanus sparnus

Western Australian Museum

The Dampier Peninsula Goanna (Varanus sparnus) has only been found from the peninsula north of Broome and Derby in Western Australia.

What is unique about this particular species, according to the museum, is the fact that it is the smallest known Varanus lizard species in the world. It’s largest documented size is just 23 centimeters in length with a weight of just 16 grams. Compare this to the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the family at more than meters long with weights exceeding 80kg. 

The lizard was discovered by herpetologists Roy Teale and Greg Harold from Biota Environmental Sciences. Dr. Paul Doughty, Curator of Reptiles at the WA Museum classified the new lizard and details its description on the Western Australian museum website, here

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