Iguanas 101 - Types of Iguanas

Iguanas 101
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Types of Iguanas


The Iguana family includes some of the largest lizards in the world with whip-like tails making up approximately half of their length. The different species in the family look and act so differently, you might not recognize them as members of the same family. Some iguanas have colors that are vivid and bright while others are rather dull in appearance. The different iguana species all live in varied animal habitats from deserts to the sea. The iguana habitat usually determines the kind of iguana that exists there.


Marine Iguanas

Marine iguanas, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, are the world’s only modern lizards with the ability to live and forage in the sea. The marine iguana can be found only on the Galapagos Island archipelago. However, they are scattered throughout the archipelago’s many islands with the iguanas on each island varying in size and color but still belonging to the same species. The different looking iguanas lumped together are called the “Galapagos Marine Iguanas”. Galapagos marine iguanas generally prefer to stay in rocky shores but are also known to inhabit mangrove swamps and beaches.
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Land Iguanas

Land iguanas are also called Galapagos land iguanas because like the Galapagos marine iguanas they can only be found in the Galapagos Islands. There are only two species of land iguanas, the Conolophus subcristatus and Conolophus pallidus.
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Desert Iguanas

The desert iguana, Dipsosaurus dorsalis, is on of the most common lizards to range in the deserts of Mojave and Sonora in the southwestern United States. The desert iguanas can also be found in some of the islands of the Gulf of California. The desert iguana got its scientific name from the Greek word Dipsa which means thirst and sauros which means lizard. Being desert iguanas the name thirst(y) lizard seems quite apt.
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Chuckwallas Iguanas

Chuckwallas or chuckawallas are actually a group of five different species under the genus Sauromalus. Sauromalus, their generic name actually means “flat-lizard”, which is an accurate description of the chuckwallas. Chuckwallas have flattened midsections and a very prominent paunch coming from loose sections of skin found on the side of their bodies and on their necks. Their tails are also broad at the base tapering to a blunt tip. The skin covering their entire body are covered with small granular scales and while the tails are covered with small spiny scales.
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Spiny-tail Iguanas

Spiny-tail iguanas are part of a genus of lizards called Ctenosaura. The Ctenosaurs consist of several different species of iguanas all native to Mexico and Central America. Spiny-tail iguanas range in size from 5 to 48 inches. The distinctive feature of Ctenosaurs is the large spiny scales that ring their tails from which their name came.
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Rock Iguanas

Rock iguanas are part of the genus Cyclura. Rock iguanas are ground dwelling dinosaur-like lizards. Rock iguanas, also called West Indian iguanas, are all herbivores. The rock iguanas differ in appearance from size to color with colors ranging from drab colors like gray and brown to more interesting colors like green, blue, and bright mottled red. Little is still know regarding the biological and physiological parameters for the rock iguanas be it wild or captive rock iguanas.
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9/18/2014  9:43:49