Desert iguana

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Desert iguana
Dipsosaurus dorsalis

Dipsosaurus dorsalis

Order : Scale reptiles (Squamata)
without rank: Toxicofera
without rank: Iguana (Iguania)
Family : Iguanas (Iguanidae)
Genre : Dipsosaurus
Type : Desert iguana
Scientific name of the  genus
Hallowell , 1854
Scientific name of the  species
Dipsosaurus dorsalis
( Baird & Girard , 1852)

The desert iguana ( Dipsosaurus dorsalis ) lives in southeastern California , southern Nevada , southwestern Utah , western and southern Arizona , Baja California and the deserts of Sonora and Sinaloa in northwestern Mexico, as well as on some islands in the Gulf of California . Its distribution area coincides with that of the creosote bush . The generic name is derived from the Greek dipsa = "thirst" and sauros = "lizard". The genus is monotypical, so it only consists of this one species.


These lizards reach a total length of 40 centimeters, of which the tail makes up almost 60 percent. Along the back to the base of the tail, a series of larger, keeled scales form a very low crest. The color on the upper side is light gray, with brown and dark gray spots or reticulations on the rotating trunk and on the tail. The spots on the tail can combine to form a ring pattern. The ventral side is whitish. In the mating season, the flanks of both sexes shimmer pink. Desert iguanas have a round head with a blunt snout and large ear openings.

In addition to the nominate form , three other subspecies are distinguished.

Way of life

Distribution area

After wintering, the mating season begins in spring, around April. From May to July, the females lay two to ten eggs in the warm desert floor up to two times. The hatching of the young takes place between July and September.

The animals are extremely heat tolerant and are still active at lunchtime even in midsummer. You can tolerate warming of the body to over 47 ° C. They prefer to feed on plants and climb creosote bushes and other shrubs to eat leaves and flowers. In addition, desert iguanas also pick up insects and carrion. They seek shelter in self-dug holes in the ground or in abandoned kangaroo- rat burrows.


Desert Iguanas

The natural enemies of the desert iguana include primarily birds of prey ; but also coyotes stalk him. Venomous snakes are also a danger to them. Desert iguanas often flee too quickly to be overwhelmed by snakes - they only run on their hind legs and put their front legs against the body. But when an iguana and a poisonous snake meet in their common hideout, the snake takes the opportunity and eats a desert iguana once.

Web links

Commons : Desert iguana ( Dipsosaurus dorsalis )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files