Axanthic Blue Iguana
Area: Central, South American and the Caribbean
Habitat: Rocky, sunlit areas, in the forest or near the shore
Diet: Herbivore - plants, flowers and fruits and sometimes insects
Size: Can reach 5 ft long and weigh up to 30 lbs
The Axanthic Blue Iguana is native to Central, South America and the Caribbean. They are diurnal which means that they are awake during the day and sleep at night. Their preferred habitat is near the water. When swimming an iguana remains submerged and uses powerful tail strokes to propel through the water. They can have a nose to tail length of 4-6ft and can weigh up to 9lb. They are heavy bodied with a dorsal crest of short spines running from the base of the neck to the end of the tail. They are the heaviest species of iguana. They also have toes that are articulated to help with digging and climbing trees. Axanthic blue iguanas are arboreal which means they spend a large amount of their lives in trees. They are agile climbers and can fall up to 50ft and land unhurt. They use their hind leg claws to grasp leaves and branches to break a fall. During cold weather they prefer to stay on the ground for greater warmth.
Axanthic blue iguanas are herbivorous which means that they eat plants. They also have developed a lateral nasal gland to supplement renal salt secretion by expelling excess potassium and sodium chloride.
Axanthic blue iguanas possess a row of spines along their backs and along their tails, which helps to protect them from predators. Their whip-like tails can be used to deliver painful strikes and like many other lizards, when grabbed by the tail, the iguana can allow it to break, so it can escape and eventually regenerate a new one. In addition, iguanas have a well developed dewlap, which helps regulate their body temperature. This dewlap is used in courtships and territorial displays.
Axanthic Blue iguanas have excellent vision which allows them to detect shapes and motions at long distances. They have poor low light vision which means they have a harder time seeing at night. Axanthic blue iguanas have sharp color vision and can see ultraviolet wavelengths. This is useful when basking in the sun to make sure that they are receiving enough sunlight to produce vitamin D. They also have a white photosensory organ called the parietal eye on the top of their head. This “eye” does not function the same as a normal eye but can detect changes in light and dark and can detect movement.