Fine Art

Corytophanes cristatus

Corytophanes cristatus (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Cladus: Unidentata Episquamata Toxicofera
Subordo: Iguania
Infraordo: Pleurodonta

Familia: Corytophanidae
Genus: Corytophanes
Species: Corytophanes cristatus

Corytophanes cristatus (Merrem, 1820)

Type locality: “Ceylona” (in error), restricted to “Orizaba, Veracruz”, Mexico, by Smith & Taylor (1950: 69).

Agama cristata Merrem, 1820: 50 [original combination]
Corytophanes cristatus — Boie in Schlegel, 1827: 290 [name combination]

Primary references

Merrem, B. 1820. Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien. Johann Christian Krieger: Marburg. xv + 191 pp., 1 pl. BHL Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2022. Corytophanes cristatus. The Reptile Database. Accessed on 10 November 2017.
Bolívar, W., Caicedo, J., Gutiérrez-Cárdenas, P. & Rivas, G. 2016. IUCN: Corytophanes cristatus (Least Concern). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T197476A2488206. DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T197476A2488206.en

Vernacular names
English: Smooth Helmeted Iguana
español: Iguana de casco, camaleón de casco, turipache cabeza lisa, perro Zompopo

The smooth helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus),[1][2][3] sometimes also known as helmeted iguana, helmeted basilisk, elegant helmeted lizard, etc.,[3] is a species of New World lizard in the family Corytophanidae.[1][2]

Taxonomic history

The smooth helmeted iguana is named for the prominent casque, or crest on the back of its head and neck which has the appearance of a helmet.
Evolutionary history

The Corytophanidae family of lizards is thought to have Euramerican and Laurasian ancestral beginnings, and is believed to have moved down to the tropics after the Eocene period cooling, approximately 33–56 million years ago.[4]
Geographic range and habitat

It can be found ranging from Chiapas in southern Mexico to north-western Colombia. The habitat they primarily occupy in this range are primary and secondary mesic rain-forest. These iguanas live predominantly in trees, but also hunt on the forest floor where they use leaf litter as a micro-habitat.[5]

The smooth helmeted iguana is a medium sized lizard with long slim legs and very long toes. It can be grey, olive, brown, black or reddish-brown with irregular blotches.[6] The smooth helmeted iguana can change the color of its skin as a method of camouflage. As indicated by its name, the smooth helmeted iguana has a prominent crest on its head, which tapers to a saw-tooth ridge down its back. The crest is present in both males and females of the species, though the crest is larger in males.[7] These iguanas are approximately 90–120 mm (4–5 in) in size when mature.[8] They are a non-heliotherm species, meaning that they do not use the sun to increase their body temperature. Rather, they maintain their body temperature at around 26 °C (79 °F), close to the temperature of the forest floor habitat where they live.[8] These lizards are very wary of predators and freeze at the approach of danger from up to 15 m (49 ft) away.[8]
Behavior and ecology

Females lay five to six eggs in a depression on the forest floor. It is speculated that the crest on their head may be used in excavating the nest.[6]

Corytophanes cristatus feeds on insects, spiders, worms, and other lizards. These organisms are extreme "sit and wait" predators and their foraging is brief and infrequent. Therefore, these lizards are considered to be opportunistic feeders.[8] They are also specialist feeders that prey on extremely large arthropods and cicadas when available.[8][9] If the lizard has no luck being a sit and wait predator, they will sometimes become active predators and look for their next meal. Typically, if this is the method they choose they will choose prey that is slow and easy to capture.[8]
Interactions with algae and fungi

The smooth helmeted iguana has been observed to remain motionless for extended periods of time. It is thought that this behavior has resulted in their skin being used as a novel growing substrate for a species of fungus, Physarum pusillum. This species of lizard is also the only known vertebrate observed with a cormophytic plant growing on it.[5]
Color change

The smooth helmeted iguana, like chameleons and other iguanas, has the ability to change its coloration from dark to light or vice versa, which aids in thermoregulation when basking in sunlight.

The smooth helmeted iguana is common and widespread throughout its native range. There are no current conservation concerns for this species although deforestation can be a localized threat to smooth helmeted iguana populations.[1]

Bolívar, W.; Caicedo, J.; Gutiérrez-Cárdenas, P.; Rivas, G. (2016). "Corytophanes cristatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T197476A2488206. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T197476A2488206.en. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
Corytophanes cristatus at the Reptile Database. Accessed 6 July 2018.
Wrobel, Murray (4 December 2004). Elsevier's Dictionary of Reptiles. Elsevier. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-08-045920-2.
Conrad, Jack L. (2015-07-01). "A new Eocene casquehead lizard (Reptilia, Corytophanidae) from North America". PLOS ONE. 10 (7): e0127900. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1027900C. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127900. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4489568. PMID 26131767.
Townsend, J. H.; Aldrich, H. C.; Wilson, L. D. & McCranie, J. R. (2005-03-01). "First report of sporangia of a myxomycete (Physarum pusillum) on the body of a living animal, the lizard Corytophanes cristatus". Mycologia. 97 (2): 346–348. doi:10.3852/mycologia.97.2.346. ISSN 0027-5514. PMID 16396342.
Leenders, Twan (2017-01-31). Amphibians of Costa Rica. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. doi:10.7591/9781501706165. ISBN 9781501706165.
Taylor, Gregory W.; Santos, Juan C.; Perrault, Benjamin J.; Morando, Mariana; Vásquez Almazán, Carlos Roberto & Sites, Jack W. (2017-09-25). "Sexual dimorphism, phenotypic integration, and the evolution of head structure in casque-headed lizards". Ecology and Evolution. 7 (21): 8989–8998. doi:10.1002/ece3.3356. ISSN 2045-7758. PMC 5689487. PMID 29177036.
Andrews, Robin M. (1979). "The lizard Corytophanes cristatus: an extreme "sit-and-wait" predator". Biotropica. 11 (2): 136–139. doi:10.2307/2387791. ISSN 0006-3606. JSTOR 2387791.

Vitt, Laurie J. & Zani, Peter A. (1998). "Prey use among sympatric lizard species in lowland rain forest of Nicaragua". Journal of Tropical Ecology. 14 (4): 537–559. doi:10.1017/s0266467498000388. ISSN 0266-4674.

Further reading

Boulenger GA (1885). Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume II. Iguanidæ ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 497 pp. + Plates I-XXIV. ("Corythophanes [sic] cristatus ", pp. 101–102).
Merrem B (1820). Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien: Tentamen Systematis Amphibiorum. Marburg: J.C. Krieger. xv + 191 pp. + one plate. (Agama cristata, new species, p. 50). (in German and Latin).

Biology Encyclopedia

Reptiles Images

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World