Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species
Established status: Populations
are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or
more consecutive years.
Estimated Florida range: 1
county At least 10 years
Statewide trend: Unknown
Threats to natives: Unknown, but
may feed on smaller vertebrates and occupy burrows of other
Species Account: This species is
native to the Pacific drainage of southern Mexico and is apparently
established only along Old Cutler Road in Miami (Wilson and Porras
1983). Adult males may exceed 1.2 m (4 ft) long. Adults are tan or
buff colored with black bands, but breeding adults develop orange
coloration on their sides. Babies are greenish colored. A prominent
vertebral crest is present, and there are whorls of spiny scales on
the tail. This species can be distinguished from the black
spinytail iguana by having 2-14 scales separating the dorsal and
tail crests, 3 complete rows of intercalary scales between the
whorls of enlarged scales on the tail, and lacking dark dorsal
crossbands (Khler and Streit 1996). This alert, wary lizard is
often seen basking on piles of rubble and building materials, but
they return to their burrows when frightened or at night (Bartlett
and Bartlett 1999). Reports of this species on Gasparilla Island
and elsewhere (Butterfield et al. 1997, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999,
McKercher 2001, McCoid 2002a) are erroneous and represent the black
spinytail iguana instead (Krysko et al. 2003, Townsend et al.
Habitats: Coastal upland, Exotic
plant community, Low density suburban development, areas peripheral
to core urban areas, and small towns, Recently disturbed, early
|At least 10 years
||Miami (Wilson and Porras 1983); the only Florida specimens of
this species that have been conclusively identified came from Old
Cutler Road (Townsend et al. 2003)
Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A field
guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas. 278pp.
Butterfield, B. P., W. E. Meshaka, Jr., and C.
Guyer. 1997. Nonindigenous amphibians and reptiles. Pages 123-138
in D. Simberloff, D. C. Schmitz, and T. C. Brown, editors.
Strangers in paradise. Impact and management of nonindigenous
species in Florida. Island Press, Covelo, California.
Eggert, J. 1978. The invasion of the wish willy.
Florida Wildlife 31(5):9-10.
Köhler, G., and B. Streit. 1996. Notes on the
systematic status of taxa acanthura, pectinata, and similis of the
genus Ctenosaura (Reptilia: Sauria: Iguanidae). Senckenbergiana
Krysko, K. L., F. W. King, K. M. Enge, and A. T.
Reppas. 2003. Distribution of the introduced black spiny-tailed
iguana (Ctenosaura similis) on the southwestern coast of Florida.
Florida Scientist 66:141-146.
McCoid, M. J. 2002a. Geographic distribution:
Ctenosaura pectinata (spinytail iguana). Herpetological Review
McKercher, E. 2001. Ctenosaura pectinata
(Iguanidae) on Gasparilla Island, Florida: colonization, habitat
use and interactions with Gopherus polyphemus. M.S. Thesis,
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA. 117pp.
Townsend, J. H., K. L. Krysko, and K. M. Enge.
2003. The identity of spiny-tailed iguanas, Ctenosaura, introduced
to Florida, USA (Squamata: Sauria: Iguanidae). Herpetozoa
Links to more information
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