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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous-Holocene
AA Iguana Fot Ars Summum.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Clade: Pleurodonta
Family: Iguanidae
Oppel, 1811


The Iguanidae are a family of lizards composed of iguanas and related species.[1]


Several classification schemes have been used to define the structure of this family. The "historical" classification recognized all New World iguanians, plus Brachylophus and the Madagascar oplurines, as informal groups and not as formal subfamilies.[2]

Frost and Etheridge (1989) formally recognized these informal groupings as families.[3][4]

Macey et al. (1997), in their analysis of molecular data for iguanian lizards recovered a monophyletic Iguanidae and formally recognized the eight families proposed by Frost and Etheridge (1989) as subfamilies of Iguanidae.[5]

Schulte et al. (2003) reanalyzed the morphological data of Frost and Etheridge in combination with molecular data for all major groups of Iguanidae and recovered a monophyletic Iguanidae, but the subfamilies Polychrotinae and Tropidurinae were not monophyletic.[6]

Townsend et al. (2011), Wiens et al. (2012) and Pyron et al. (2013), in the most comprehensive phylogenies published to date, recognized most groups at family level, resulting in a narrower definition of Iguanidae.[7][8][9]

Historical classification[edit]

Family Iguanidae

  • Informal grouping anoloids: anoles, leiosaurs, Polychrus
  • Informal grouping basiliscines: casquehead lizards
  • Informal grouping crotaphytines: collared and leopard lizards
  • Informal grouping iguanines: marine, Fijian, Galapagos land, spinytail, rock, desert, green, and chuckwalla iguanas
  • Informal grouping morunasaurs: wood lizards, clubtails
  • Informal grouping oplurines: Madagascan iguanids
  • Informal grouping sceloporines: earless, spiny, tree, side-blotched and horned lizards
  • Informal grouping tropidurines: curly-tailed lizards, South American swifts, neotropical ground lizards

Frost et al. (1989) classification of iguanas[edit]

Family Corytophanidae
Family Crotaphytidae
Family Hoplocercidae
Family Iguanidae

Family Opluridae
Family Phrynosomatidae
Family Polychridae
Family Tropiduridae

Macey et al. (1997) classification of Iguanidae[edit]

Family Iguanidae

Schulte et al. (2003) classification of Iguanidae[edit]

Here families and subfamilies are proposed as clade names, but may be recognized under the traditional Linnean nomenclature.


  • subclade of Polychrotinae Anolis: anoles
  • subclade of Polychrotinae Leiosaurini: leiosaurs
  • Tropidurinae: curly-tailed lizards, neotropical ground lizards, South American swifts
  • subclade of Tropidurinae Leiocephalus: curly-tailed lizards
  • subclade of Tropidurinae Liolaemini: South American swifts
  • subclade of Tropidurinae Tropidurini: neotropical ground lizards

Townsend et al. (2011), Wiens et al. (2012) and Pyron et al. (2013) classification of Iguanidae[edit]


  1. ^ Bauer, Aaron M. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 140–142. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
  2. ^ Etheridge, Richard; de Queiroz, Kevin (1988). Estes, R.; Pregill, G. (eds.). Phylogenetic Relationships of the Lizard Families, Essays Commemorating Charles L. Camp. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. pp. 283–368. ISBN 0-8047-1435-5.
  3. ^ D.R. Frost & R. Etheridge (1989) «A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of iguanian lizards (Reptilia: Squamata)» Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist. Misc. Publ. 81
  4. ^ D.R. Frost, R. Etheridge, D. Janies & T.A. Titus (2001) Total evidence, sequence alignment, evolution of polychrotid lizards, and a reclassification of the Iguania (Squamata: Iguania) American Museum Novitates 3343: 38 pp.
  5. ^ Macey, J.R., A. Larson, N.B. Ananjeva, and Papenfuss, T.J. (1997) [Evolutionary shifts in three major structural features of the mitochondrial genome among iguanian lizards.] Journal of Molecular Evolution 44: 660-674
  6. ^ Schulte II, J.A., J.P. Valladares, and A. Larson (2003) [Phylogenetic relationships within Iguanidae inferred using molecular and morphological data and a phylogenetic taxonomy of iguanian lizards.] Herpetologica 59: 399-419
  7. ^ Townsend; Mulcahy; Noonan; Sites Jr; Kuczynski; Wiens; Reeder (2011). "Phylogeny of iguanian lizards inferred from 29 nuclear loci, and a comparison of concatenated and species-tree approaches for an ancient, rapid radiation". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 61 (2): 363–380. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.07.008. PMID 21787873.
  8. ^ Wiens; Hutter; Mulcahy; Noonan; Townsend; Sites Jr.; Reeder (2012). "Resolving the phylogeny of lizards and snakes (Squamata) with extensive sampling of genes and species". Biology Letters. 8 (6): 1043–1046. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.0703. PMC 3497141. PMID 22993238.
  9. ^ Pyron; Burbrink; Wiens (2013). "A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 13: 93. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-93. PMC 3682911. PMID 23627680.

External links[edit]