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Fascinating Facts About Five Island Lizards

Learn something new every day! Are you familiar with these five fascinating island lizards?

The Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a Vulnerable species. It lives among the rocks of the Galápagos islands. The Marine Iguana is well known for a behavior that is strange even among lizards: sneezing in order to remove salt water from their noses. This saline purge often results in the salt being sprayed atop their heads – giving them a salty mucous wig.

island conservation marine iguana

A male Marine Iguana with several females. Credit: Tommy Hall/Island Conservation

A native to the Bahamas, this Curly-tailed Lizard (Leiocephalus Carinatus) is one of five subspecies. The species gets its name from a courtship and territorial display during which it curls its tail. Evidence suggests that the lizards might also curl their tails in order to trick predators into attacking the easily detached rear rather than the head.

island conservation curly tailed lizard

Curly-tailed Lizards can be found on Allen Cay Island, Bahamas. Credit: Island Conservation

The Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) is a native species to Cuba and the Bahamas, but is presenting a major problem in other regions where it has become invasive after being introduced as part of the pet trade. This species has a bizarre characteristic: it molts in sections rather than as a whole and then eats the molt to replenish lost calcium.

Island Conservation Brown Anole

Brown Anole in its native habitat in the Bahamas. Credit: Island Conservation

The brightly colored Clarion Lizard (Urosaurus clarionensis) is a species endemic to the Clarion Islands of Mexico. The species is considered to be Vulnerable due to a number of threats brought on by the presence of invasive feral pigs and goats. Very little is known about this species, including what part of the island it inhabits. The island is largely made up of tropical dry rainforest, but researchers do not know if Clarion Lizards inhabits the forest. There is also concern that invasive feral cats are likely to harm the Clarion Lizard population.

Island Conservation Clarion Lizard

Clarion Lizards can be found on Clarion Island, Mexico. Credit: Island Conservation

The Rabida Gecko was once believed to be extinct,Very little is known about the Rabida Gecko since most of what scientists thought they knew came from fossil record data. However, there new hope to learn more about the Rabida Gecko; in a surprising twist, Island Conservation’s 2011 removal of invasive rats on Rabida Island, Galápagos resulted in the rediscovery of the species.

Island Conservation Rabida Gecko

Rabida Gecko on Rabida Island, Galapagos. Credit: Island Conservation

Featured photo: Lava Lizard in the Galápagos. Credit: Island Conservation

Sources:
National Geographic
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Bahamas National Trust
Galapagos Conservation Trust
Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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