The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a species of lizard that inhabits the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang in Indonesia.A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to an average length of 2 to 3 metres (6.6 to 9.8 ft) and weighing around 70 kilograms (150 lb). Their unusual size is attributed to island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous animals to fill the niche on the islands where they live; their large size is also explained by the Komodo dragon's low metabolic rate. As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live.[6Although Komodo dragons eat mostly carrion, they will also hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals.
The Komodo dragon uses its tongue to detect, taste, and smell stimuli, as with many other reptiles, with the vomeronasal sense using a Jacobson's organ, a sense that aids navigation in the dark. With the help of a favorable wind and its habit of swinging its head from side to side as it walks, Komodo dragons may be able to detect carrion from 4–9.5 kilometres (2.5–6 mi) away. The dragon's nostrils are not of great use for smelling, as the animal does not have a diaphragm.It only has a few taste buds in the back of its throat..Its scales, some of which are reinforced with bone, have sensory plaques connected to nerves that facilitate its sense of touch. The scales around the ears, lips, chin, and soles of the feet may have three or more sensory plaques
The Komodo dragon was formerly thought to be deaf when a study reported no agitation in wild Komodo dragons in response to whispers, raised voices, or shouts. This was disputed when London Zoological Garden employee Joan Proctor trained a captive specimen to come out to feed at the sound of her voice, even when she could not be seen.
Indonesia's Government Urges Support of Komodo for next World Wonder
With the Komodo National Park a finalist to become one of the new seven wonders of nature, the government is urging the country to support its bid before voting closes in 2011.
Organized by the Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation to help preserve the world’s heritage sites, the Komodo National Park has been nominated to become a natural wonder alongside 27 other places around the world, including the Amazon rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and Grand Canyon.
People can vote for the seven final wonders on the campaign’s Web site at www.vote7.com/n7w or by telephone. The winners will be announced in 2011.
The Komodo National Park managed to secure a place among the 28 finalists and is now eligible to be voted for in the final seven natural wonders of the world.The Komodo National Park, which is located in East Nusa Tenggara and encompasses the three main islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar, was established in 1980 to protect and preserve the population and habitat of the unique Komodo dragons native to the area.
There are currently about 2,500 Komodo dragons on Komodo and Rinca islands between Sumbawa and Flores. VOTE COMODO ISLANDS AS A NEXT WORLD WONDER
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