Feeding ecology and diet

Most iguanids are either insectivorous or herbivorous, with the larger lizards tending toward a completely vegetarian diet. The iguanines, for instance, are primarily herbivorous as

adults, but the young also eat arthropods. Some members of this family, such as Gambelia species, will eat other lizards, and a few species are cannibalistic.

The insectivorous iguanids typically either stalk their prey or wait in ambush, particularly if the lizard is cryptically colored. After striking out at an insect or other arthropod, most lizards swallow the prey quickly. The common side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana) engages in the unusual practice of banging the prey on the ground several times before consuming it. Horned lizards are distinguished by their diet, which consists almost wholly of ants. These small lizards must eat considerable numbers of ants to gain adequate nutrition. Since ants produce formic acid to deter predators, the lizards may smell of formic acid as a result.

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