Cofán Dwarf-Iguana

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Hoplocercidae | Enyalioides cofanorum

Spanish common name: Iguana enana Cofán.

Recognition: ♂♂ 23.8 cm ♀♀ 24.2 cm. In eastern Ecuador, Enyalioides cofanorum is the only dwarf iguana (genus Enyalioides) distributed north of the Napo river occurring below 800 m and having a dorsolateral row of enlarged spiny scales. The most similar species are E. microlepis, which occurs south of the Napo river, and E. praestabilis, which occurs above 800 m.

Picture: Adult female.

Adult male Enyalioides cofanorum

Picture: Adult female.

Adult female Enyalioides cofanorum

Picture: Juvenile.

Juvenile Enyalioides cofanorum

Natural history: Uncommon. Enyalioides cofanorum is a diurnal primarily terrestrial to semiarboreal lizard that sleeps on stems and tree trunks 40–150 cm above the ground during the night.1,2 It occurs in primary and secondary evergreen forests.1,2 Enyalioides cofanorum is an ambush predator that feeds on earthworms, sowbugs, spiders, beetles and grasshoppers.1 Females of this species containing two eggs have been found.1

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Conservation: Least Concern.3 Enyalioides cofanorum is listed in this category because this species is widely distributed, occurs in protected areas, and (presumably) is not undergoing population declines nor facing major immediate threats of extinction.3

Distribution: Amazonian lowlands in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Distribution of Enyalioides cofanorum 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.4 The specific epithet cofanorum honors the Cofán tribe of the upper Aguarico river in Ecuador.5

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

Literature cited:

  1. Duellman WE (1978) The biology of an equatorial herpetofauna in Amazonian Ecuador. Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Natural History University of Kansas 65: 1–352.
  2. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  3. Calderón M, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Perez P (2016) Enyalioides cofanorum. The IUCN red list of threatened species. Available from:
  4. Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D (2018) Reptiles del Ecuador. Version 2018.0. Available from:
  5. Duellman WE (1973) Descriptions of new lizards from the upper Amazon basin. Herpetologica 29: 228–231.