Monday, November 3, 2008

Iguana in tree


This colorful iguana perched in a tree shows off some of the adornments of iguanas, such as the spines on his back. There are 38 species of iguanas in Costa Rica. This is a green iguana, even though it is not green.

Green iguanas are identified by their long scales running down the crest of their spine, the large circular scale at their jaw, and a skin sac, called a dewlap, hanging from their throat. I previously posted a photo of the
profile of a green iguana.

Iguanas can change in color at different times of the day. They can migrate the color pigment granules within their individual cells. If the pigment granules are clustered into a spot within each cell, the color will be less intense than if the pigment granules are spread throughout the cells. They use darker colors to absorb more heat from the sun, as they are cold-blooded reptiles, of course.

The are harmless to humans. They eat leaves and twigs as adults. Teenage iguanas prefer insects. They spend most of their time in trees. If threatened, they can drop from the branches into a stream and swim away.

Some local people eat iguana. I have been served grilled iguana by locals once or twice. They said that it tasted like chicken. My Costa Rican wildlife guidebook says that it is an acquired taste. I decided that was one taste I did not need to acquire.

Green iguanas are also called a common iguana or locally called a garrabo. Its scientific name is the rather uncreative "iguana iguana."

9 comments:

Hilda said...

The texture and color of their skin is amazing! And wouldn't you just love to be able to control your pigmentation too? That'd be cool!

I think I would've passed on that dish too.

Ineke said...

Wow, that's a scary thing! I would like to try eating it too. (i find that a lot of things indeed taste like chicken :)

Mo said...

Such an amazing prehistoric creature. Not sure I would have felt comfortable eating it.

Sharon said...

Great iguana shot. I still remember the one who was slowing crossing the road when Julie and I were walking home from lunch. He paused to smile for the camera and then slowly moved on.

the wife said...

Gorgeous iguana photos. I think they are beautiful. FYI the photo of a baby iguana isn't an iguana but likely a juvenile basilisk. Baby igs have a dewlap with little spikes while that baby just has a throat skin fold.

I am traveling to CR in Jan 09--can't wait!

Tanya said...

So cool to just see one out in the wild like this! We won a baby iguana once at the fair. We had him for a few months then he somehow got out of his cage and we never did find him again :(

JM said...

Great shot of the green iguana! I took some photos of another species as they were everywhere at Manuel Antonio park but none is as good as yours.

rob said...

Beautiful animal. The tones of the skin are amazing.

Jilly said...

A beautiful portrait of a fabulous creature. Adn it looks BIG too.

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