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Tropical & Subtropical Dry
Broadleaf Forest

The drier forest of Wallacea are often overlooked...


The drier forests of Wallacea are found in the large country of Indonesia and the tiny new country of East Timor. They dominate the natural landscape in a group of islands often known as the 'Lesser Sundas'.

Their rainfall and vegetation is in contrast with the wetter jungle of south-east Asia and New Guinea. They look quite similar to the drier tropical woodlands across northern Australia, and are seasonally dry for the same reason, as they are located in the rain shadow of the Australian continent. Moister trade winds that come from the south east in the southern hemisphere dry season are sucked dry as they travel across the continent. Only in the summer wet season does the area get significant rainfall. At this time, the previously sparse brown vegetation erupts into green.  

Class Arachnida

Order Opiliones: 'Harvestmen', 'Daddy long-legs'

(Satonda, Indonesia)

Harvestmen are delicate looking arachnids with very long thin legs.

Class Insecta

Order Lepidoptera

(Nino Konis Santana National Park,East Timor)

Triodes plato, 'Silver Birdwing'.

(Satonda, Indonesia)

Papilio ulysses, Ulysses Butterfly'.

(Nino Konis Santana National Park, East Timor)

Catopsilia pomona, 'Lemon Migrants'.


(Satonda, Indonesia)
(Satonda, Indonesia)
(Nino Konis Santana National Park, East Timor)

Squamata: Lizards and Snakes

Family Gekkonidae

(Satonda, Indonesia)

Gekko gecko, 'Tokay Gecko'; Large gecko. The scientific name and most of the common names are onomatopoeic, and variations on describing the loud double call. U.S.A soldiers in Vietnam called it the 'fuck-you' lizard. Very widespread; from India, across Indonesia, to New Guinea.

Family Agamidae: Dragons

Draco, 'Gliding Lizard'.

Family Varanidae: Monitor Lizards

Like snakes, Komodo Dragons (and other monitors) have a forked tongue. This allows the animal to find what direction their prey is when they 'taste' the air.

(Komodo Island, Indonesia)

Varanus komodoensis, 'Komodo Dragon'. The largest lizard in the world, and the largest land reptile in the world.

(Rinca, Indonesia)

Two male Komodo Dragons in combat.

(Rinca, Indonesia)

It was once thought that the saliva of Komodo Dragons was full of dangerous bacteria that helped infect and bring down prey; this has now been observed not to be true. However, recent studies suggest Komodo dragons (and a few other large monitors) may have mildly venomous bites. 

For the page on the birds of the Wallacean dry forest

(image by Damon Ramsey)(Com, East Timor)

Class Mammalia

Order Chiroptera: 'Bats'

(Satonda, Indonesia)

Flying Fox.

 Places to experience the Wallacean dry forest

Places to see the tropical dry forest of Wallacea Komodo IslandRinca, and Satonda Island, in Indonesia, and Nino Konis National Park in East Timor.

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.