- This is the largest species of lizard found in Texas.
Broad head with tapering snout; long tail (about twice the length of the head and body).
Small, smooth scales with row of keeled scales down back and length of tail; keeled scales on tail form rings.
Legs tend to be of darker color with long toes and sharp claws.
- Dorsal surface is gray, brown, or yellow-brown with faint crossbars on body.
Ventral surface is yellow or olive.
Tail has bands of yellow and brown.
Ctenosaura pectinata can grow up to 1.2 m (48 in).
In North America, Ctenosaura pectinata is a native of western Mexico, but has been introduced in extreme south Texas as well as southeastern Florida.
This diurnal lizard is very wary and will hide under rocks or wood or climb a tree if approached. This species employs head bobbing for territorial and breeding displays. Mostly feeding on vegetation (leaves, flowers, stems, and fruit), Ctenosaura pectinata will occassionally eat small animals.
Breeding occurs in early spring and egg clutches are laid in April and May. The female lays up to 50 eggs in burrows.
Ctenosaura pectinata typically occupies a sandy or rocky habitat with plenty of crevices to hide in. The spiny tail iguana can be found on rock walls and in tree hollows, as well as on rock piles, wood piles and trash piles.
The western spiny-tailed iguana is not a protected species in Texas and can be legally collected with a hunting license.
In Texas, Ctenosaura pectinata is found exclusively around the Brownsville area in south Texas.