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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Sauria
Infraordo: Iguania
Familia: Corytophanidae
Genus: Basiliscus
Species: B. basiliscus - B. galeritus - B. plumifrons - B. vittatus


Basiliscus Laurenti, 1768

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Basilisken
日本語: バシリスク属
Polski: bazyliszki
Türkçe: Şahmeran

Basiliscus is a genus of lizards that includes the basilisks.

Taxonomy and etymology

This word derives from the Greek basilískos (βασιλίσκος) meaning "little king". The specific epithet was given in Carolus Linnaeus' 10th edition of Systema Naturae.[2]

The basilisk has mackled blue spots and a yellow iris, on average measures 70 to 75 mm (2.8–3.0 in), and weighs about 80 grams (3.2 oz). Its growth is perpetual, fast when they are young and nonlinear for mature basilisks. Its long crest-like sails, reinforced in three distinct points (head, back, and tail), confer the impression of creatures such as Dimetrodon and Spinosaurus. Its skin is shed in pieces.
Running on water

The basilisk sometimes runs as a biped. Basilisks have the unique ability to "walk" on water and, because of this, they have been dubbed as "The Jesus Christ Lizard" in reference to the biblical passage of Matthew 14:22-34.[3] On water, the basilisk can run at a velocity of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) per second for approximately 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) before sinking on all fours and swimming. Flaps between their toes help support the basilisk, creating a larger surface and a pocket of air. They can also sustain themselves on all fours while "water-walking" to increase time above the surface by about 1.3 meters (4.3 feet).
Other defense mechanisms

When the Basilisk detects danger, it can swim at fast speeds, using its crests as rudders. It can also burrow into sand. A ring of muscles around both nostrils prevent sand from entering the Basilisk's nose.

Abundant in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Ecuador and Venezuela. Recently introduced to Florida, it has adapted to the colder winters by burrowing into the leaf litter for warmth. Current reports sight the basilisk as far north as Fort Pierce, on the state's East Coast, where small groups have crept up the North Fork of the Saint Lucie River.

Genus Basiliscus

* Common basilisk, Basiliscus basiliscus
* Red-headed basilisk, Basiliscus galeritus
* Plumed basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons
* Striped or Brown Basilisk, Basiliscus vittatus

Other nicknames

* Jesus Christ lizards
* Mystical Lizards
* Devil's Lizard
* Monkey Lala[4]


1. ^ "Basiliscus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=173907. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
2. ^ Robert George Sprackland (1992). Giant lizards. Neptune, NJ: T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0866226346.
3. ^ How "Jesus Lizards" Walk on Water. News.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-19.
4. ^ Roatan Honduras Culture | Monkey Lala | Parrots | Yaba Ding Dings. Roatanonline.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-19.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License