Five-keeled Spiny-tailed Iguana

Central America


Ctenosaura quinquecarinata


  • Habitat loss through deforestation and regular burning of habitat, and collection for the international pet trade.

Ctenosaura quinquecarinata, commonly known as the club tail iguana or the five-keeled spiny-tailed iguana is a species of lizard in the family Iguanidae endemic to Central America. It is found in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Other sources list it also from Mexico and El Salvador.

The tail on this species is heavily armored with five rings of spines forming longitudinal ridges. Males of the species grow to a length of 35 centimeters (14 in) whereas females attain 18.5 centimeters (7.3 in). Like most Ctenosaura the iguanas are born a bright green color fading to brown as the animal ages. The females tend to turn a uniform drab brown in color, and males develop tones of black, blue and yellow on their bodies and heads over the brown background. Total population size is not known, but it is estimated that there may be fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. It is threatened by habitat loss through deforestation, overcollection through an unregulated exploitation for the pet trade, and it is even hunted by humans as a food item.

Its natural habitat is tropical dry forests. It is threatened in its native range by habitat loss.