; order Squamata, suborder Sauria)
A family of large, agile, predatory lizards which typically have a pointed head, a large tympanal membrane, a long, slender neck, a massive body, powerful, clawed limbs, and a long, thick tail. The scales are small and granular. Most monitors are good climbers and swimmers. Varanus komodoensis (Komodo dragon) is the largest extant lizard, males (which are larger than females) growing to 3 m long and a weight of 140 kg; adults feed mainly on deer, pigs, and monkeys (often as carrion), the young on insects and small vertebrates. Komodo dragons occur on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rintja, Flores, and Padar. There are about 30 species of monitors, occurring in tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World and Australia.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.