Oplurus cyclurus

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Oplurus cyclurus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Opluridae
Genus: Oplurus
Species: O. cyclurus
Binomial name
Oplurus cyclurus
(Merrem, 1820)

The Merrem's Madagascar swift, Oplurus cyclurus (or Madagascar swift) is an arboreal Malagasy iguana belonging to the Oplurus genus. They are endemic to Madagascar and have a mostly carnivorous diet. Their breeding is timed with the rainy season.


Oplurus cyclurus at Tsingy - TBC

Oplurus cyclurus and Oplurus cuvieri are of a similar appearance so may be easily confused. Oplurus cyclurus is not found at Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park,[2] so sighting from here are likely to be of Oplurus cuvieri.

Oplurus cyclurus is slightly smaller than Oplurus cuvieri, both which have a distinctive large spiny tail. Unlike other iguana genera, these two species have no dorsal crests. Oplurus cyclurus has a dark brown or black band around the neck and similar paler markings on its back. Oplurus cyclurus are known as the three-eyed iguana to local people due to the "third eye" spot visible on top of their heads. The spot is more evident in younger iguanas, but fades as the iguana ages. It grows to about 25 cm (7.5 in.), with the tail comprising more than half the total length.


This species is mostly arboreal, living in the spiny forests of the south and south-west Madagascar.[1]


  1. ^ a b Vences, M. (2011). "Oplurus cyclurus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2011: e.T172831A6926304. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T172831A6926304.en. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  2. ^ Gardner, Charlie; Louise Jasper; Nary Razafinarivo (2011). "A new, isolated population of Oplurus (Iguanidae) from Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, western Madagascar" (PDF). Herpetology Notes. 4: 253–254.