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Tara Chestnut, PhD @TCastanea
, 18 tweets, 14 min read Read on Twitter
NEXT UP: #3 seed Komodo Dragon versus #14 seed Hellbender #2018MMM
The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a bohemith of a lizard, the largest extant species can be up to 3m (10ft) in length and weighs in at up to 70 kg (150lb) It is listed as Vulnerable by @IUCNRedList… (Ciofi 2004) #2018MMM
Varanus komodoensis occurs on a few isolated islands in eastern Indonesia, between Java and Australia, where it is the dominant terrestrial carnivore (Hocknull 2009). Photo: @NatGeo #2018MMM…
The first paper describing Komodo Dragon was published in 1912 by Peter Ouwens the director of the Zoological Museum at Bogor, Java, based on a photo, skin sample, and 2 collected specimens.… #MMM2018
A 1926 collecting expedition provided the inspiration for the 1933 movie King Kong. Three of the specimens from this expedition were stuffed and are still on display in the American Museum of Natural History Photo: AMNH #2018MMM…
Volcanic activity, earthquakes, habitat loss, fire, declines in prey, tourism & illegal poaching of dragons have contributed to their vulnerable status. Commercial trade of skins & specimens is illegal under international law @CITES #2018MMM…
Predatory ecology of Varanus komodoensis is a subject of great interest & conjecture. Fry & others (2009) describe dragons as having a "sophisticated combined-arsenal killing apparatus" Venom, not toxic bacteria, plays a central role in predation. #2018MMM…
The Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) aka #SnotOtter is the largest North American salamander. It's considered Near Threatened by @IUCNRedList because of widespread habitat loss and it's close to qualifying as Vulnerable #2018MMM
#SnotOtters are entirely aquatic & live under large flat rocks in streams They breathe through their skin & are vulnerable to sedimentation & habitat modification like having their homes filling with silt or destroyed by folks flipping their homes… #2018MMM
#ActualLivingScientist Kimberly Terrell is studying hellbender declines, the effect of temperature on disease vulnerability & species’ susceptibility to climate change. @SnotOtters Check her out on @NatGeo too! #2018MMM…
Later, check out Freshwaters Illustrated @bluemayfly film highlighting hellbender conservation efforts in southern Appalachia and the importance of public lands for species conservation and protection. The underwater video is AMAZING! #2018MMM
The battle takes place on Komodo Island, part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands within Komodo National Park. #2018MMM
Komodo dragon smells the stentch of rotting flesh and strolls through the scrub forest in search of his next meal #2018MMM
Dragon crosses a stream where #SnotOtter is resting under a rock #2018MMM
#SnotOtter can recognize predators by scent but it doesn't recognize this smell. Dragon's toe brushes against #SnotOtter snout, startling it and it flees from under the rock #2018MMM…
Dragon swipes at #SnotOtter with it's mighty claw, sweeping it to shore #2018MMM
Dragon grabs #SnotOtter gives it a good shake and gulps it down before continuing to follow the stench #2018MMM
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