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1 December 2003 Using External Vertebral Growth Rings to Assess Longevity in the Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis)
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Abstract

An attempt was made to assess longevity using growth lines on bone surfaces from five, known-age, captive-raised Varanus bengalensis specimens. These monitors ranged in size from 22–52 cm SVL and spanned hatchling to adult ontogenetic stages. Growth rings were found to be prevalent within the glenoid cavities of vertebrae from all specimens. Total counts of these lines required removal of calcified cartilage deposits beforehand. Following such preparations, one to 11 growth lines were revealed. These counts strongly correspond with the known age of the specimens. It appears these structures form annually and can be used to age this taxon late into ontogeny. The methods developed here show great promise for providing a useful means to age skeletal material from the wild; however, follow-up field studies are recommended prior to such implementation.

The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Gregory M. Erickson "Using External Vertebral Growth Rings to Assess Longevity in the Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis)," Copeia 2003(4), 872-878, (1 December 2003). https://doi.org/10.1643/h202-161.1
Accepted: 12 July 2003; Published: 1 December 2003
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