Ctenosaura similis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Iguanidae

Scientific Name: Ctenosaura similis
Species Authority: (Gray, 1830)
Common Name(s):
English Common Spiny-tailed Iguana, Black Iguana, Black Spiny-tailed Iguana
Spanish Iguana Negra
Iguana similis Gray, 1830
Taxonomic Notes: A subspecies has been described, Ctenosaura similis multipunctata (Barbour and Shreve 1934, Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 8: 197) from Isla de Providencia, Colombia (Henderson and Powell 2009), however, given that the nominotypical subspecies occurs on nearby San Andrés Island (90 km distant), the validity of this subspecies should be re-evaluated.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2010-02-07
Assessor(s): Pasachnik, S.
Reviewer(s): Grant, T.D. & Hoffmann, M.
This species remains widespread and currently has a stable population and is not affected by the threats that similar species face. Although harvesting for human consumption does occur to varying degrees throughout its range, it does not seem to be having a negative affect on the population size.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec southwards through Central America. It occurs on both the Caribbean and Pacific versants and on several offshore islands, including: Cozumel, Mujeres, and del Carmen, Mexico (de Queiroz 1995, Köhler and Streit 1996); Utila and Guanaja, Honduras; Maiz Grande and Maiz Pequeno, Nicaragua (S. Pasachnik pers. obs. 2008); El Rey, Panama; and Providencia and San Andres, Columbia (de Queiroz 1995). It has also been introduced to Florida, USA, and has now established a reproducing population (Enge 2006).  A recent report also indicates that this species has been introduced into Venezuela, near Lecharias, along the road from Barcelona to La Cruz (Barrio-Amoros and Rivas-Fuenmayor 2008). This species has been found from sea level to 1,300 m above sea level.
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Colombia (Colombian Caribbean Is.); Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Mexico; Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); Panama
United States (Florida); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1300
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


This species has been reported as common in its habitat in Belize and Costa Rica (Stafford and Meyer 2000, Savage 2002). In Honduras, some subpopulations of this species are severely depleted (Puerto Lempira, Gracias a Dios), whereas it remains abundant along the entire Pacific versant in Valle and Choluteca (J. McCranie pers. comm. 2009).

Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in sunny, open locations within both dry and moist forest habitats. It also occurs in savanna, coastal lagoons and marshes, sandy beaches, agricultural land, disturbed open areas, pasture land, and can also be found near urban areas.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

This species is locally eaten and is sold in markets throughout Mexico and Central America, where it is believed to have medicinal value (Savage 2002).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Harvesting for human consumption does occur, but this does not seem to be having a negative affect on the population size of this species.  The iguana is locally captured and eaten and is sold in markets throughout Mexico and Central America, where it is believed to have medicinal value (Savage 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

This species is found in several protected areas across its range. Further monitoring of this species is needed, especially to determine if harvest levels are increasing.

Citation: Pasachnik, S. 2015. Ctenosaura similis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T174480A73611567. . Downloaded on 25 November 2015.
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