Dr Lee Van Hien’s image of a pair of Malayan Water Monitoirs (Varanus salvator) greeting each other with their forked tongues lasted less than two seconds. Immediately after, the pair moved away.
According to Wikipedia, most lizards, like snakes, indulge in chemical communication. They stick out their tongue to “taste” the chemicals present in the air or on various surfaces. They thus can detect the movements of other lizards earlier on without actually coming in contact with them.
In this particular case, the two lizards came face to face with each other, made tactile communication and moved off without any conflict. It can be courtship related or even territorial infringement peacefully resolved.
Dr Lee Van Hien
28th April 2019
This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.