Komodo Dragon or in Latin called Varanus Komodoensis is the largest lizard species in the world that lives on the island of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Gili Motang in Nusa Tenggara. The lizard is a native of the island of Komodo also called by local name is Ora.
Including members of the family lizard Varanidae and klad Toxicofera, komodo is the largest lizard in the world with an average length of 2-3 m. This large size is associated with island gigantism symptoms, namely the tendency of meraksasanya body of certain animals that live on the small island associated with the absence of carnivorous mammals on the island where the life of dragons, and a small rate of Komodo metabolism. Because of its large body, this lizard occupies the position of the top predator that dominates the ecosystem where he lives.
Komodo dragons were discovered by western researchers in 1910. His large body and terrible reputation make them popular in zoos. The habitat of dragons in the wild has been shrinking due to human activity and hence IUCN incorporates Komodo as a species susceptible to extinction. The large lizard is now protected under Indonesian government regulations and a national park, Komodo National Park, was established to protect them.
Anatomy and Morphology
In the wild, adult dragons typically have a mass of about 70 kilograms, but the dragons that are kept in captivity often have greater body weight. The largest ever wild specimen has a length of 3.13 meters and weighs about 166 kilograms, including the weight of undigested food in its stomach. Although the Komodo is listed as the largest living lizard, but not the longest. This reputation is held by the Papua lizard (Varanus salvadorii). Komodo dragons have the same length of tail with their bodies, and about 60 pieces of sharp teeth along about 2.5 cm, which are often replaced. Komodo dragons are often mixed with blood because their teeth are almost entirely covered by gingival tissue and the tissue is torn during the meal. This condition creates an ideal growth environment for deadly bacteria that live in their mouths. Komodo has a long tongue, yellow and branched. Male dragons are bigger than female dragons, with a dark gray to brick red color, while the female dragon is more olive-green, and has a small yellow cut on the throat. Younger dragons are more colorful, with yellow, green and white on a black background.
Komodo does not have a sense of hearing, despite having ear holes. The lizard is able to see up to 300 m, but since the retina only has conical cells, it is not so good to see in the darkness of night. Komodo dragons are able to distinguish colors but are not able to distinguish objects that do not move. Komodo uses his tongue to detect taste and smell stimuli, like other reptiles, with the vomeronasal senses utilizing Jacobson’s organs, a capability that can aid navigation in the dark. With the help of the wind and his habit of tilting his head to the right and to the left when walking, Komodo dragons can detect the presence of carrion as far as 4-9.5 kilometers. Komodo dragon nostrils are not a good olfactory tool because they do not have a body cavity. This animal has no taste buds on its tongue, there are only a few nerve endings in the back of the throat.
Komodo scales, some of which are reinforced with bone, have sensors connected to nerves that facilitate touch stimulation. The scales around the ears, lips, chin and soles have three sensors of stimulation or more.
Komodo was once considered deaf when research found that whispers, increased sounds and screams did not result in agitation (disturbance) in wild Komodo dragons. It was denied later when the London ZSL Zoo worker Joan Proctor trained lizards to eat out in her voice, even when she was not seen by the monitor lizard.
Ecology, Behavior and Way of Life
Komodo dragons are naturally found only in Indonesia, on the islands of Komodo, Flores and Rinca and several other islands in Nusa Tenggara. Living in open grasslands, savannas and tropical forests at low altitudes, these lizards like this hot and dry place. They are active during the day, although sometimes active also at night. Komodo dragons are solitary animals, gathered together only during meals and breeding. This large reptile can run fast up to 20 kilometers per hour at short distances; Swimming very well and able to dive as deep as 4.5 meters; As well as good at climbing trees using their powerful claws. To capture prey that is out of reach, the Komodo dragon can stand on its hind legs and use its tail as a support. With be