Earlier today a work colleague found this little goanna in the undercroft garage at my work and I managed to catch a snap before he was released from his A4 paper box back into the granite … gneissic really … hills that curl around the line of the Stuart Highway just north of Alice Springs.
As the esteemed Centralian linguist My Turpin posited here, distinguishing the smaller arlewatyerre and the large aremaye as they are called in Arandic languages (Arrernte, Kaytetye, Anmatyerr and Alyawarr) is a herpetological Gordian knot.
Myf Turpin noted in her guest post: “For Kaytetye speakers, the main difference between their ethnospecies is size and frequency: arlewatyerre is smaller and common while aremaye is big and less common.
The generic gloss (non-Arandic & non-scientific) term for these brightly-coloured and drop-dead gorgeous (as food and on the eye) monitor lizards is Sand Goanna. Not very helpful when the landscape is dominated by rock and and lots … biggest mobs in fact … of red sand.
Not that the scientists help with field identification all that much.
Myf has the following quote from Daniel Bennett’s 1995 monograph, A Little Book of Monitor Lizards, published by Viper Press in the UK.
… the animals referred to here as sand goannas or goanna x (V. flavirufus) are usually called V. gouldii gouldii in the literature. The desert sand goanna V. flavirufus flavirufus is usually called V. gouldii flavirufus.
The animals known as V. panoptes in the literature should be called V. gouldii, and the animals known as V.gouldii in the literature actually belong to V. flavirufus. In older literature the name V.gouldii could describe the nameless actuality, V. gouldii gouldii, V.g. rubidus, V.g. horni, V. flavirufus or V. rosenbergi.
Here is a closer look at this little fella for your entertainment …
Get my drift? Confusement doesn’t reign, it pours!!!