Plumed basilisk

Plumed basilisk

name = Plumed BasiliskITIS|ID=683025 |taxon="Basiliscus plumifrons"|accessmonthday = October 10|accessyear = 2008]
status = secure

image_caption = male plumed basilisk
image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Sauropsida
ordo = Squamata
familia = Corytophanidae
genus = "Basiliscus"
species = "B. plumifrons"
binomial = "Basiliscus plumifrons"
binomial_authority = (Cope, 1876)
The plumed basilisk ("Basiliscus plumifrons"), also called a green basilisk, is a species of lizard native to Latin America. Its natural range covers a swath from Mexico to Ecuador.

Taxonomy and etymology

The Plumed Basilisk's generic name "basiliscus" is taken from the creature of Greek mythology made up of parts of a rooster, snake, and lion which could turn a man to stone by its gaze: the Basilisk.cite book |author=Robert George Sprackland |title=Giant lizards |publisher=T.F.H. Publications |location=Neptune, NJ |year=1992 |pages= |isbn=0866226346 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] This name derives from the Greek "basilískos" (βασιλίσκος) meaning "little king". This epithet was given in Carolus Linnaeus' 10th edition of "Systema Naturae".


Plumed basilisk males have three crests: one on the head, one on their back, and one on the tail. The females, however, only have one crest, on the head.


Plumed basilisks are omnivorous and eat insects, small mammals (such as rodents), smaller species of lizards, fruits and flowers. Their predators include raptors, opossums and snakes.


The females of this species lay five to fifteen eggs at a time in warm, damp sand or soil. The eggs hatch after eight to ten weeks, at which point the young emerge as fully independent lizards.


Males are very territorial; a single male may keep land containing a large group of females with whom he mates.

This lizard is able to run short distances across water using both its feet and tail for support, an ability shared with other basilisks and the Malaysian Sail-finned Lizard ("Hydrosaurus amboinensis"). In Costa Rica, this has earned the plumed basilisk the nickname "Jesus Christ lizard". It is also an excellent swimmer and can stay under water for up to 30 minutes.


External links

* [ Plumed Basilisk gallery] , with photos of it running on water
* [ Green Basilisk] , Honolulu Zoo web site

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