Evolution and systematics

The Iguanidae is a large family of some 860-900 species and nearly 70 genera. The iguanids comprise eight subfamilies:

• Corytophaninae, the casquehead lizards of Central America

• Crotaphytinae, the leopard and collared lizards

• Hoplocercinae, a small assemblage of South American tropical lizards

• Iguaninae, the true iguanas and spinytails

• Oplurinae, the Madagascar iguanas

• Phrynosomatinae, the tree, side-blotched, sand, spiny, and horned lizards

• Polychrotinae, the anoles

• Tropidurinae, the ground lizards of Neotropical South America and the Antilles Islands of the West Indies

The Iguanidae family is most closely related to the families Agamidae of Africa, Asia, and Australia, and the family Chamaeleonidae, mainly of Africa and Madagascar. These three families, collectively grouped as Iguania, diverged within the snake and lizard lineage very early in their evolution. Some taxonomists now classify each Iguanidae subfam ily as a separate family, in which case the endings of the subfamily names listed above end in "-idae" rather than "-inae."

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