A story of nasal horns: A new species of Iguana Laurenti, 1768 (Squamata, Iguanidae) in Saint Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Grenada (Southern Lesser Antilles) and its implications for the taxonomy of the genus Iguana

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Michel BreuilFrédéric Grandjean


The Lesser Antilles, in the Eastern Caribbean, were long considered to have only two species in the genus Iguana Laurenti 1768: the Lesser Antillean iguana Iguana delicatissima, which is endemic to parts of the Lesser Antilles, and the common green iguana Iguana iguana, which also occurs throughout Central and South America. However, herpetologists and reptile collectors have pointed out strong physical differences between some of the island populations of Iguana iguana and those from the continent. Drawing on both morphological and genetic data, this paper describes a third species Iguana insularis sp. nov. from the southern Lesser Antilles, specifically the countries of Saint Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Grenada. The new species is described based on the following unique combination of characters: Presence of high median and medium to small lateral horns on the snout; Small subtympanic plate not exceeding 20% of the eardrum size; Two or three scales of decreasing size anterior to the subtympanic plate; Fewer than ten small to medium triangular gular spikes; Medium sized dewlap; Low number of small to medium dispersed nuchal tubercles; Dark brown iris, with the white of the eye visible; Oval, prominent nostril; Shor...Continue Reading

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