Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The GreenTracks Naturalist


There are around five dozen species of lizards in the Iquitos region, and they have exploited all sorts of habitats: treetops, leaf litter, creeks and rivers. Amazonian lizards range from tiny geckos barely an inch in length to tegus, iguanas, and caiman lizards that can reach three to five feet. There are lizards that resemble their backgrounds and others that sport impressive colors. Herewith, a few for viewing.

Northern Caiman Lizard (Dracaena guianensis). Caiman Lizards are the reptilian equivalent of otters, diving for huge aquatic snails and surfacing to crack the shells with their powerful jaws.

Crocodile Tegu (Crocodilurus amazonicus). This graceful swimmer was known only from Brazil and Colombia until we rediscovered a population barely 80 miles from Iquitos.

Amazon Wood Lizard (Enyalioides laticeps). Wood Lizards are elusive inhabitants of the understory and forest floor deep in primary rainforest. When threatened they often remain motionless and are difficult to detect.

Amazon Streak Lizard (Gonatodes humeralis). Streak Lizards are tiny geckos that live among the roots and trunks of trees in rainforest. Males, like the one pictured here, can sport beautiful colors during breeding season.

Cocha Whiptail (Kentropyx altamazonica). This speedy lizard spends much of its time on floating islands of vegetation and it can actually run across the surface of the water for several yards.

Collared Streak Lizard (Gonatodes concinnatus). This beautiful gecko is actually rather scarce in the Iquitos region, and we have only found them along two river systems. Like other Streak Lizards they can be seasonally quite colorful.



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