Skip to main content

Iguanidae

Iguanidae (iguanas, basilisks, anoles; order Squamata, suborder Sauria) A family of lizards, with terrestrial, arboreal, burrowing, and semi-marine forms, which are the New World counterparts of the Old World Agamidae, but distinguishable by their pleurodont teeth. Typically, iguanids are long-limbed and agile. Dorsal crests, throat appendages, and ‘helmets’ are common. Iguana iguana (common iguana or green iguana) of S. American tropical forests is large (up to 1.8 m long), principally herbivorous, and has a short, fleshy tongue, serrated teeth, a throat dewlap, and a spiny crest along the back; it dives into water if startled. Phyrnosoma species (horned lizards) are flat and squat with short tails, their bodies covered with spiny tubercles, and they can burrow backwards into the sand; if disturbed they may squirt blood from the corners of their eyes. Amblyrhynchus cristatus (marine iguana) of the Galápagos Islands is the only extant marine lizard; it feeds on seaweeds and basks on rocks or shelters in fissures when not swimming. The 165 Anolis species (anoles) are small, slender, with long, whip-like tails, and have adhesive pads on their clawed toes; in some these pads have enlargements allowing the lizard to ‘parachute’ (i.e. to slow their rate of descent when falling, which allows them to jump to the ground from considerable heights). Anoles are adept at colour change. The arboreal Basiliscus (basilisks) of Mexico and Ecuador are excellent swimmers but also fast, bipedal runners on land, and over the surface of water! Adults develop a casque on the head, which is larger in males. They feed on fruit and small animals. There are more than 700 species in the family, found mainly in the New World, but also in Madagascar and some Pacific islands.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Iguanidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Iguanidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/iguanidae

"Iguanidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved August 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/iguanidae

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.