Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Rain Lizard, Kentropyx striata (Family Teiidae)

Size: Males 124 mm, females 84 mm SVL; hatchlings 31−34 mm SVL; tail is at least 2.2 times the SVL; hind legs about 63% SVL. Snout pointed from above, sloping in profile; rostral scale triangular, nasals in contact on the midline of crown; scales on crown large plates; eye diameter three-fourths of eye-nostril distance; ear opening slightly less than the eye's diameter; tympanum visible. Anterior and lateral neck scales granular and keeled; mid-dorsum with 14 rows of large, overlapping, heavily keeled scales; laterally are 16 rows of small keeled scales; ventral scales large, heavily keeled, overlapping and arranged in 14 longitudinal rows, distinguishing it from Cnemidophorus (with eight longitudinal rows) and Ameiva(8−10 longitudinal rows); tail completely covered with large, keeled scales; upper surface of the hind limbs with small keeled scales, anterior surface of limbs with very large keeled scales; forelimbs with large scales on dorsal and anterior surfaces; fourth finger with 15−19 lamellae, the fourth toe with 24−28 lamellae; femoral pores number 6−7 in both sexes; males are larger than females and have a pair of preanal spurs on each side of central preanal scales; dorsum green with tan to white dorsolateral stripes, and blue-white spotting on the flanks; and brown lateral stripes; orange venter in males, white venter in females; venter of tail orange in both sexes.

Habitat: Savanna wetlands and swamps.

A semi-aquatic lizard that climbs trees and shrubs; much of its distribution in Trinidad coincides with sugarcane and natural savanna, where it uses streamside (canals and ditches) trees and shrubs. It seeks refuge in water when approached while basking and during the rainy season it occupies small islands of vegetation until the water recedes; activity centered in early morning but can be seen mid-day; sleeping on tall grass. Diet: Insects and arachnids, also frogs and lizards. Reproduction: On Trinidad eggs laid in July-August and hatch in October-November. On the mainland, females reach sexual maturity at 74 mm SVL and produce 3−12 eggs per clutch, and produce more than one clutch per season; eggs laid at night in open, short, grassy fields; nest chamber about 3.5 cm deep with a 7 cm tunnel leading to a chamber at a 40° angle; eggs laid 10 October, hatched between 11−15 February, an incubation period of about 124 days.

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