This Central American iguana is endemic to the mangroves of Utila Island in Honduras. Arboreal, this is the smallest island iguana, living in holes in trees on the mangroves, leaving only to feed and sunbathe on the branches. It also has a crest on its shoulder, longer on males, which is made of spiny scales. Males can measure up to 75-cm long, while females don’t tend to surpass 55 cm.
Colouring can change from light grey to bright turquoise, depending on the temperature or breeding period. Young individuals are dark grey, letting them blend into the ground of the mangroves, as they are terrestrial during their first year of life, unlike adults.
Fundamentally herbivorous, the Spiny-tailed iguana feeds on mangrove leaves, flowers and fruits, although they also eat small animals if they have the chance. During the reproduction period, from March to April, the female deposits the eggs into a hole she digs in the sand on the beach. The hatchlings emerge after 60 to 75 days, moving towards the mangrove shortly after.
The main threats they face include poaching and the destruction of their habitat.