Crocodile tegu

Crocodilurus lacertinus

SUBFAMILY

Tupinambinae

TAXONOMY

Crocodilurus lacertinus Daudin, 1802. Islands adjacent to tropical South America.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The crocodile tegu is the only species in its genus. It has a typical marcoteiid body form anteriorly, but the tail is at least twice body length and laterally compressed. Dorsal scales along the tail converge into one row, as in a crocodile's tail. Adults are brown or greenish above with orange mottling on limbs. The venter is yellow or whitish.

DISTRIBUTION

Amazon basin and upper Orinoco River drainage, South America.

I Crocodilurus lacertinus

I Dracaena paraguayensis

HABITAT

Forested stream sides. BEHAVIOR

This species is semiaquatic, foraging along water's edge or in the water. Crocodile tegus are excellent swimmers, using the laterally compressed tail to propel them through the water. These lizards may forage in water and escape predators by diving into the water.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These are opportunistic feeders of insects and other arthropods.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

This species is oviparous, but details of its natural history are not well studied.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened, and widespread in most of its range. Threats include habitat destruction.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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