Green Iguana

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The Green Iguana or Common Iguana (Iguana iguana) is a large, arboreal herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana native to Central and South America. The green iguana ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay to as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands; and in the United States as feral populations in South Florida (including the Florida Keys), Hawaii, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

A herbivore, it has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. It grows to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 20 pounds (9.1 kg).

Commonly found in captivity as a pet due to its calm disposition and bright colors, it can be demanding to care for properly. Space requirements and the need for special lighting and heat can prove challenging to an amateur hobbyist.

Contents

Taxonomy and etymology

The species was first officially described by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1758.[2] In the two centuries since then, no less than 17 species and subspecies have been identified with all but one species (Iguana delicatissima) being found to be invalid.[2]

Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA-sequence data to explore the phylogenic history of the green iguana, scientists from Utah Valley State College studied animals collected from 17 different countries.[3] The topology of phylogeny indicated that the species originated in South America and eventually radiated through Central America and the Caribbean.[3] The study revealed no unique mitochondrial DNA haplotypes for subspecific status but did indicate the deep lineage divergence between Central and South American populations.[3]

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