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Komodo (island)




 Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia. The island has a surface area of 390 km² and over 2000 inhabitants. The inhabitants of the island are descendants of former convicts who were exiled to the island and who have mixed themselves with the Bugis from Sulawesi. The population are primarily adherents of Islam but there are also Christian and Hindu minorities.

Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of the Komodo National Park. Particularly notable here is the native Komodo dragon. In addition, the island is a popular destination for diving. Administratively, it is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province.
Location

Komodo lies between the substantially larger neighboring islands Sumbawa to the west and Flores to the east.
Fauna

The island is famous not only for its heritage of convicts but also for the unique fauna which roam it. The Komodo dragon, the world's largest living lizard, takes its name from the island. A type of monitor lizard, it inhabits Komodo and some of the smaller surrounding islands.

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum of length 3 metres (9.8 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to around 70 kilograms (150 lb). Their unusual size has been attributed to island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous animals to fill the niche on the islands where they live. However, recent research suggests that the large size of komodo dragons may be better understood as representative of a relict population of very large varanid lizards that once lived across Indonesia and Australia, most of which, along with other megafauna, died out after the Pleistocene. Fossils very similar to V. komodoensis have been found in Australia dating to greater than 3.8 million years ago, and its body size remained stable on Flores, one of the handful of Indonesian islands where it is currently found, ever since Flores (along with neighboring islands) were isolated by rising sea levels approximately 900,000 years ago. As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion.

Mating begins between May and August, and the eggs are laid in September. About twenty eggs are deposited in abandoned megapode nests or in a self-dug nesting hole. The eggs are incubated for seven to eight months, hatching in April, when insects are most plentiful. Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and therefore dwell in trees, safe from predators and cannibalistic adults. They take about eight to nine years to mature, and are estimated to live for up to 30 years.

Komodo dragons were first recorded by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts.

Sail Indonesia 2011

Komodo island will be more popularized by Sail Indonesia 2011 on June with about 120 yachts from at least 20 countries and will start from the provincial city of Kupang through Alor, Lembata, Maumere, Ende, Rote Ndao, Sabu, Sumba Timur, Riung, Sumba Tengah and Labuan Bajo as the mouth of Komodo island.











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