|Male plumed basilisk|
|Female plumed basilisk|
|Suborder:||Sauria or Iguania|
Taxonomy and etymology
The plumed basilisk's generic name Basiliscus is taken from the legendary reptilian creature of European mythology which could turn a man to stone by its gaze: the Basilisk. This name derives from the Greek basilískos (βασιλίσκος) meaning "little king". This epithet was given in Carolus Linnaeus' 10th edition of Systema Naturae.
Plumed basilisks are bright green with small bluish spots along the dorsal ridge. These lizards may grow up to 3 ft (1 m) in length (most of which is tail), with an average length of about 2 ft (0.6 m). 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.
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.
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- "Basiliscus plumifrons". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
- Kohler, G. (2008). Reptiles of Central America, 2nd edition. ISBN 978-3936180282
- Savage J. M. (2005). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. ISBN 978-0226735382
- Robert George Sprackland (1992). Giant lizards. Neptune, NJ: T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-86622-634-6.
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