Rough-scaled Dwarf-Iguana

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Hoplocercidae | Enyalioides anisolepis

Spanish common name: Iguana enana rugosa.

Recognition: ♂♂ 34.2 cm ♀♀ 31.3 cm. Enyalioides anisolepis is the only dwarf iguana (genus Enyalioides) distributed in the Mayo river basin in southern Ecuador. Another species, E. laticeps, might also occur in the area, but this other lizard has a longitudinal pale stripe running from the corner of the mouth to the tympanum.1

Picture: Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides anisolepis

Picture: Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides anisolepis

Natural history: Frequent. Enyalioides anisolepis is a diurnal semiarboreal lizard that sleeps on stems, leaves and tree trunks 20–150 cm above the ground during the night in primary and secondary evergreen forests usually close to bodies of water.2,3

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Conservation: Near Threatened. We consider Enyalioides anisolepis to be in this category following IUCN criteria4 because, although it is presumed to be restricted to an area smaller than 5,000 km2, it occurs in protected areas (Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary) and it is not suspected to have undergone population declines.

Distribution: Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Ecuador and Peru.

Distribution of Enyalioides anisolepis in Ecuador

Etymology: The generic name Enyalioides, which comes from the Latin words Enyalius (a genus of neotropical lizards) and oides (meaning “similar to”), refers to the similarity between lizards of the two genera.5 The specific epithet anisolepis is derived from the Greek words anisos (meaning “unequal”) and lepis (meaning “scale”). It is a reference to the heterogeneous scales on the dorsum, flanks and hind limbs of lizards of this species.3

Authors: Alejandro ArteagaaAffiliation: Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador. and Gabriela Aguiar.

Literature cited:

  1. Torres-Carvajal O, Etheridge R, De Queiroz K (2011) A systematic revision of Neotropical lizards in the clade Hoplocercinae. Zootaxa 2752: 1–44.
  2. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  3. Torres-Carvajal O, Venegas PJ, de Queiroz K (2015) Three new species of woodlizards (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from northwestern South America. ZooKeys 494: 107–132.
  4. IUCN (2001) IUCN Red List categories and criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland and Cambridge, 30 pp.
  5. Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D (2018) Reptiles del Ecuador. Version 2018.0. Available from: