Cyclura – Rock iguanas/Cycluras

Large-bodied, herbivorous lizards found nowhere else than West Indies

Comprises some of the most imperiled lizard species globally, with several facing imminent extinction threats. As documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, out of the 16 officially recognized species and subspecies within the genus, a staggering five are classified as endangered, while an alarming eight are categorized as critically endangered, highlighting the urgent need for conservation action.

Cyclura iguanas are characterized by their distinctive physical features, including long, straight tails, robust limbs, and formidable claws, which facilitate their survival in their native habitats. One of their most striking attributes is the presence of a sizable skin flap known as a dewlap, which hangs from their throat and serves multiple functions, including thermoregulation and communication.

Their coloration varies from dark greys to light browns, often adorned with conspicuous banding patterns that aid in camouflage and predator avoidance. Notably, Cyclura iguanas have evolved a unique adaptation to endure periods of food scarcity by storing significant reserves of fat around their necks, providing a vital energy reserve during lean times.

Despite their remarkable adaptations, Cyclura iguanas face a myriad of threats to their existence, primarily driven by human activities. Habitat destruction, poaching for the exotic pet trade, and invasive species predation pose significant challenges to their survival in the wild. Moreover, their restricted geographic ranges and low reproductive rates exacerbate their vulnerability to extinction pressures.