Corytophanidae – Casquehead lizards

Performing acrobatic miracles on the water

Formerly placed in the Iguanidae family, the nine species of these small to medium-sized lizards now enjoy their own family. Members of this family are characterized by a slender, laterally compressed body, long thin tails, and long limbs, making them master climbers.

This small family is distributed in tropical to dry forests of the new world. Cortophanes also possess well-formed head crests, brandished in defensive displays. Apart from head crests, many species have a sail on their back, head, and tail. Basiliscus genus is also called Jesus Christ lizards, for they can dart bipedally across water surfaces. These lizards can also plunge into the water from tree branches to escape predators.