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iguana(ĭgwä`nə), name for several large lizards of the family Iguanidae, found in tropical America and the Galapagos. The common iguana (Iguana iguana) is a tree-living, strictly vegetarian species found along streams from Mexico to N South America. Members of this species are 3 to 6 ft (90–180 cm) long, with the tail accounting for two-thirds of the length. They are bright green with dark stripes on the tail. A crest of spines runs from the neck to the tail. The flesh and eggs of the common iguana are valued as food. Spiny, or black, iguanas (species of Ctenosaura) are ground-living vegetarian lizards found from Baja California to Central America. The chuckwalla (Sauromalus obesus) and the desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) are desert species of the SW United States and NW Mexico. The 16-in. long (40-cm), greenish chuckwalla is the largest U.S. lizard except for the gila monster and is known for its ability to inflate itself, making it difficult to extract from crevices. The gray-brown desert iguana is marked with dark spots and stripes; it lives in burrows made by other animals. Both feed on cactus flowers and fruits and tender desert plants. Basilisks Basiliscus (species), found along streams in tropical America, are large iguanas that can walk in an upright position; males are crested. A marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus), the only marine lizard, is found in the Galapagos Islands, where there is also a land species (Conolophus subcristatus). The large, diverse iguana family includes many smaller species not called iguanas. They are found throughout the temperate and tropical Americas, as well as in the Fiji Islands and on Madagascar. Most North American lizards belong to this family, including the collared lizards, the utas, the swifts, the so-called horned toads, or horned lizardshorned lizard
or horned toad,
broad, flat-bodied lizards of the genus Phrynosoma, found in arid regions from extreme SW Canada to Guatemala. There are several species in the United States W of the Mississippi. The body is 3 to 5 in. (7.6 to 12.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the American chameleonchameleon
, small- to medium-sized lizard of the family Chamaeleonidae. More than 150 species are found in sub-Saharan Africa, with a few in S Europe and S Asia. The so-called common chameleon, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, is found around the Mediterranean.
..... Click the link for more information. , or anole (not a true chameleon). Most members of the family feed on insects and other small animals as well as some plant matter. In nearly all species the females lay eggs in the ground. Iguanas are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Iguanidae.
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The common name for a number of species of herbivorous, arboreal reptiles in the family Iguanidae characterized by a dorsal crest of soft spines and a dewlap; there are only two species of true iguanas.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. either of two large tropical American arboreal herbivorous lizards of the genus Iguana, esp I. iguana (common iguana), having a greyish-green body with a row of spines along the back: family Iguanidae
2. any other lizard of the tropical American family Iguanidae
3. another name for leguaan
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005