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striped basilisk
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Corytophanidae
Fitzinger, 1843[1][2]

Basiliscus Laurenti, 1768
Corytophanes H. Boie, 1826
Laemanctus Wiegmann, 1834[3]


Corythophanae Fitzinger, 1843[1]

Corytophanidae is a family of iguanian lizards, also called casquehead lizards or helmeted lizards,[4] endemic to the New World. Nine species of casquehead lizards from three genera are recognized.

Geographic range[edit]

Corytophanids are found from Mexico, through Central America, and as far south as Ecuador.


The casquehead lizards are moderately sized lizards, with laterally compressed bodies, and typically have well-developed head crests in the shape of a casque helmet. This crest is a sexually dimorphic characteristic in males of Basiliscus, but is present in both sexes of Corytophanes and Laemanctus.[5]


In Corytophanes, the head crests are used in defensive displays, where the lateral aspect of the body is brought about to face a potential predator in an effort to look bigger.[5] Unlike many of their close relatives, they are unable to break off their tails when captured, probably because the tail is essential as a counterbalance during rapid movement.[citation needed]


Casquehead lizards are forest-dwelling.


Despite the small number of species in the family Corytophanidae, it includes both egg-laying species and species that give birth to live young.[4]

Genera and species[edit]

Family Corytophanidae

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a different genus.


  1. ^ a b Frost DR, Etheridge R (1989). "A Phylogenetic Analysis and Taxonomy of Iguanian Lizards (Reptilia: Squamata)". Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist., Misc. Pub. (81): 1-65. ("Corytophanidae Fitzinger, 1843", p. 34.)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Corytophanidae". Dahms Tierleben.
  4. ^ a b Bauer, Aaron M. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G., eds. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 134–136. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  5. ^ a b Pough et al. (2003).

Further reading[edit]

  • Fitzinger L (1843). Systema Reptilium, Fasciculus Primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller & Seidel. 106 pp. + indices. (Family Corythophanae, p. 52). (in Latin).
  • Pough FH, Andrews RM, Cadle JE, Crump ML, Savitsky AH, Wells KD (2003). Herpetology, Third Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. 736 pp. ISBN 978-0131008496. (Corytophanidae, p. 129).