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World's smallest goanna lizard species discovered in Australia

Dec 31, 2014 16:57 IST

World's smallest goanna lizard species was discovered on 30 December 2014 in Australia.

The new species has been named Dampier Peninsula Goanna while its scientific name is Varanus sparnus.

The goanna lizard weighs barely 16 grams. The Western Australia Museum announced the discovery of the new species of goanna lizard from the Kimberley region.

The discovery of this species is significant as it is the world's smallest species of Varanus lizard. This single genus has 77 species, with the new species the 78th one.

This group of charismatic lizards also contains large-bodied species such as the Australian desert-dwelling Perentie (Varanus giganteus) at over 2 metres long, and the famous Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) from Indonesia at over 3 metres long and over 80 kg (the largest lizard in the world).

In contrast, the new species has a maximum known size of only 23 cm and weighs just 16 grams.

The species was discovered by consultants Roy Teale and Greg Harold from Biota Environmental Sciences while undertaking a survey in the region.

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