Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura defensor)

loading
Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana fact file

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyIguanidae
GenusCtenosaura (1)

The Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura defensor) is one of the smallest, yet most vividly coloured, of the 14 spiny-tailed iguana species is. Typically, it is a rainbow of colours, with a blue head, black and white chest, red lower back and a grey, heavily armoured tail. This tail has several whirls of tiny spines, giving the species its common name of ‘spiny-tailed’. On average, male Yucatan spiny-tailed iguanas tend to be slightly larger than females (2).

Synonyms
Cachryx annectens, Cachryx defensor , Cachryx erythromelas, Ctenosaura annectens, Ctenosaura erythromelas, Enyaliosaurus defensor .
Spanish
Chop.
Size
Maximum length: 25 cm (2)
Top

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana biology

The Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana is a primarily arboreal species (2). Unusually for iguanas, this species is a leaf eater, although sometimes the Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana shows a preference for flowers, fruit and seedlings (4).

The young are born between April and June. Yucatan spiny-tailed iguanas tend to be solitary from juvenile age (4)

Top

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana range

The Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana has a very limited range, occurring only in a restricted area of 2,000 square kilometres within Mexico, in the lowland Mayan forest and Yucatan region (3).

Top

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana habitat

An inhabitant of a subtropical and dry climate, the Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana uses holes in the ground, hollow tree trunks and rocky crevices as places to shelter (1). There are no occurrences of this reptile at altitudes over 1,000 metres above sea level (3).

Top

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana status

The Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

Top

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana threats

The greatest threat to the Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana is the activities of humans. Urbanisation and the building of roads are fragmenting this species’ very restricted habitat and decreasing the already insubstantial population. It was predicted in 2004 that, due to these continuing threats, the Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana population would decrease by a further 30 percent over the next decade (1).

Top

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana conservation

The IUCN’s listing of this species as Vulnerable will hopefully help to increase awareness of this species and an interest in the conservation and problems facing this reptile (1). Several areas, such as the Maya Biosphere, have been set aside within Mexico as protected areas for the Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana and other species that also co-exist within the same area, helping to preserve this species’ habitat (3). The Mexican government is also making efforts to hinder the illegal pet trade by establishing laws against collection and exportation without permits, although of course this is not 100 percent effective (3). It has been recommended that more research, monitoring and assessment needs to be undertaken into the ecology and requirements of the species, to better conserve it in its natural environment (1).

TopTop

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
Top

Glossary

Arboreal
An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Bartlett, R.D. and Bartlett, P. (2003) Iguanas: Everything about Selection, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, Breeding and Behaviour. Barron’s Educational Series, New York, USA.
  3. Radachowsky, J. (2002) Endemism in the Maya Forest. Wildlife Conservation Society for FIPA and USAID, United States.
  4. Burghardt, G. (1982) Iguanas of the World, their Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. Noyes Publication, United States.
X
Close

Image credit

Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana  
Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana

© Gunther Koehler

Gunther Koehler
Curator of Herpetology
Senckenberg, Forschungsinstitute und Naturmuseen
Sektion Herpetologie
Senckenberganlage 25
D-60325
United Kingdom
gkoehler@senckenberg.de
http://www.senckenberg.de

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura defensor) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS