January 31, 2017
A Lizard from a Land Like No Other
- as seen by -Samuel Bozeman
Madagascar is home to only a few species of lizards in the family Iguanidae. Most of the others live in the New World. One exception is the Madagascan spiny-tailed iguana (Oplurus cuvieri) found in the northern and western parts of this island off the east coast of Africa. It is the largest known member in genus (Oplurus), which is comprised of six species native to Madagascar. Though not endangered, it is threatened by habitat destruction and exploitation as food by the local population as well as the introduction of non-native species.
Mostly arboreal in nature, this lizard can remain motionless on the trunk of a tree camouflaged by black, white, and grey speckled scales as it waits for unsuspecting prey, primarily insects, to come within range. When threatened, it will retreat to the crevice of a rock or tree trunk. If unable to completely conceal itself, this iguana has adapted to shield its body with its heavily armored and spiked tail.
After breeding occurs, a female iguana will lay her eggs in the ground. She disguises her nest by covering it with sand, leaves, and twigs in the hope of protecting her offspring (above, a hatchling) from the giant hognose snake (Leioheterodon madagascariensis.)
Nikon D5, Nikkor 60mm Lens, R1C1 Speedlight System