Komodo dragons (Varanus komodensis) are the world’s largest lizards, reaching three meters in length and more than 100 kilograms in weight. They are native to a handful of remote islands in southern Indonesia, where they are formidable predators that can take on prey many times their own size, including an occasional human. Described by scientists in 1912, the Komodo dragon escaped comprehensive scientific scrutiny until the 1970s. Now, leaders in the field of Komodo dragon research, including former Earthwatch principal investigator Claudio Ciofi (Yale University), have published the most complete collection of their latest findings.
Komodo Dragons: Biology and Conservation, co-edited by Ciofi and colleagues, ranges in subject from the evolution of Komodo dragons to their behavior, immunology, and captive management. Ciofi himself authored a chapter on recent findings in conservation genetics and co-authored chapters on population distribution and global conservation. These findings were supported in part Earthwatch teams on Komodo Dragon in the late 1990s, and come at a critical time as numbers of this unusual reptile are dwindling. This book would be a great addition to the library of anyone interested in herpetology or the conservation of endangered species.
Komodo Dragons: Biology and Conservation. Edited by James B. Murphy, Claudio Ciofi, Colomba de La Panouse, and Trooper Walsh. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.