The Types of Tropical Lizards


Part of the order Squamata, lizards are reptiles found in many habitats, but especially in tropical and desert areas. Although sharing the same habitat, tropical lizards species can vary in size, habits and colors. Iguanas, chameleons, geckos, spectacled lizards, dragon lizards and the Komodo dragon are some types of tropical lizards.


  • Iguanas are lizards part of the family Iguanidae, only found in tropical areas. The green iguana (Iguana iguana) is a common species, native to Central and South America and popular as a pet. The lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima), which is vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction and hybridization with the green iguana, is another species found in the Caribbean.


  • Part of the family Chamaeleonidae, chameleons feature distinct zygodactylous feet, with two toes forward and two back, like parrots, long tongues and eyes that can move independently from each other. However, their ability to change their skin color is the best known characteristic of these lizards. Most of the 160 species of chameleons live in tropical areas. The Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti) is one of the largest species of chameleon, measuring 27 inches in length, and found only in Madagascar.


  • Geckos are members of the family Gekkonidae. Unlike other lizards, they communicate through high-pitched sounds. The 2,000 species of geckos vary widely in size, from less than an inch to 24 inches long. With the exception of the subfamily Eublepharinae, these lizards do not have eyelids but only a transparent membrane to protect their eyes. Defense strategies include dropping the tail or expelling feces on the predators.

Spectacled Lizards

  • Spectacled lizards gained their name due to their transparent eyelids, which allow them to see even with closed eyes. Part of the family Gymnophthalmidae,these lizards are small with elongated bodies and often short limbs. They are found in the tropical areas of Central and South America. Most common genera include Anadia, Bachia and Alopoglossus.

Dragon Lizards and the Komodo Dragon

  • Lizards of the family Agamidae are called dragon lizards or Agamids. More than 300 species are found in tropical areas of Asia, Africa and Australia. A key characteristic of these lizards is the teeth, which are seen even when they have their mouths closed, like in crocodiles. Endemic to certain Indonesian islands and members of the family Varanidae, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest species of lizard, reaching up to 9.8 feet and 150 lb.


  • "Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity"; Eric R Pianka and Laurie J Vitt; 2006
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • List of Different Types of Reptiles

    With thousands of species known to science, reptiles live almost everywhere in the world. Members of the class *Reptilia* share a few...

  • The Types of Lizards Found in Florida

    Also known as the Sunshine State, Florida provides habitats for lizards in its swamplands, forests and coastal regions. This southeastern state has...

  • Animals in the Tropical Desert

    The word “tropical” brings to mind lush jungles, palm trees, turquoise seas—not desert. Yet several deserts exist around the world within the...

  • A List of Animals in the Rainforest

    Rainforests are a diverse ecosystem that can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Located in tropical regions, the land areas are...

  • Types of Lizards

    Interested in a beginner lizard for your new exotic pet? Learn about different types of lizards with expert reptile tips in this...

  • Desert vs. Tropical Pet Lizards

    Some lizards need desert enclosures while others require moist, tropical cages. Learn about which pet lizard, desert or tropical, suits your needs...

  • Tropical Lizard Cages

    Caring for tropical lizard enclosures can take more work than desert lizards. Learn about caring for a tropical lizard cage with expert...

Related Searches

Check It Out

Can You Take Advantage Of Student Loan Forgiveness?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!