Saturday, May 12, 2012

Helmeted Iguana

Corytophanes cristatus
The Helmeted Iguana is also sometimes referred to as the Forest Chameleon. Confusing, right? They are members of Corytophanidae, a family that also includes Basilisks and other Helmeted Lizards. The helmet name comes from the fact that these little guys have a huge helmet-like crest that extends from the back of their heads down over their necks. They also have a much lower crest that extends down their back. Males have larger helmets than females.

Helmeted Iguanas can be found in tropical rainforests ranging from Mexico down to Colombia. Their long limbs and grasping toes allow them to be excellent climbers.

One interesting feature to the Helmeted Iguana is that it can change color (hence the Forest Chameleon Name). They really can only shift from greens to browns, but that is enough to allow them some camouflage while out basking in the sun, or while hunting for insects.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : South and Central America
Size : Length up to 14in (34cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Squamata
Family : Corytophanidae -- Genus : Corytophanes -- Species : C. cristatus

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