Red-eyed Dwarf-Iguana

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Hoplocercidae | Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Spanish common name. Iguana enana de ojos rojos.

Recognition. ♂♂ 304 mm ♀♀ 263 mm. Enyalioides oshaughnessyi is unique among dwarf iguanas (genus Enyalioides) in Ecuador in having bright red eyes and lacking a pale vertical line above the arm. The most similar species is E. altotambo, a species that has brown eyes and occurs north of the known range of E. oshaughnessyi.

Picture. Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Picture. Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Picture. Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Picture. Adult female.

Adult female Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Picture. Subadult.

Subadult male Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Picture. Juvenile.

Juvenile Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Picture. Juvenile.

Juvenile Enyalioides oshaughnessyi

Natural history. Frequent. Enyalioides oshaughnessyi is a diurnal sunlight-loving semiarboreal lizard that sleeps on stems and tree trunks 80–280 cm above the ground during the night1,2. It is a territorial species found in primary and secondary evergreen forests or in deciduous forests close to bodies of water1,3. Enyalioides oshaughnessyi avoids predators by staying still and blending against the vegetation or by moving up and around trunks1.

Conservation. Vulnerable4. Enyalioides oshaughnessyi was originally listed in this category because its extent of occurrence was estimated to be smaller than 20,000 km2, it was thought to occur in fewer than 10 localities, and its old-growth forest habitat is under intense, and increasing, pressure from deforestation4. Although the species is now known from 37 localities and we estimate its extent of occurrence to be over 30,000 km2, E oshaughnessyi is still facing the threat of becoming extinct due to habitat loss, which is taking place even in the protected areas where it occurs5.

Distribution. Endemic to the Chocoan lowlands and adjacent Andean foothills in Ecuador. Colombian records6 of this species likely correspond to Enyalioides altotambo.

Distribution of Enyalioides oshaughnessyi in Ecuador

Etymology. The generic name Enyalioides, which comes from the Latin words Enyalius (a genus of neotropical lizards) and oides (meaning “similar to”), refers to the similarity between lizards of the two genera7. The specific epithet oshaughnessyi honors Arthur O'Shaughnessy, a British poet and herpetologist.

Authors. Alejandro Arteaga.

Literature cited.

1. Tropical Herping field notes.

2. Ortega-Andrade HM, Bermingham J, Aulestia C and Paucar C (2010) Herpetofauna of the Bilsa Biological Station, province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Check List 6: 119–154.

3. Morales-Mite MA (2013) Herpetofauna en áreas prioritarias para la conservación. El sistema de reservas Jocotoco y Ecominga. Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito, 408 pp.

4. Cisneros-Heredia DF, Velasco J, Bolívar W (2015) Enyalioides oshaughnessyi. The IUCN red list of threatened species. Available from: http://www.iucnredlist.org

5. MAE (2012) Línea base de deforestación del Ecuador continental. Ministerio del Ambiente, Quito, 32 pp.

6. Torres-Carvajal O, Etheridge R, De Queiroz K (2011) A systematic revision of Neotropical lizards in the clade Hoplocercinae. Zootaxa 2752: 1–44.

7. Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D (2018) Reptiles del Ecuador. Version 2018.0. Available from: https://bioweb.bio