Blue-spotted Dwarf-Iguana

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Hoplocercidae | Enyalioides praestabilis

Spanish common name: Iguana enana puntiazul.

Recognition: ♂♂ 33.7 cm ♀♀ 30.8 cm. In eastern Ecuador, Enyalioides praestabilis is the only dwarf iguana (genus Enyalioides) distributed north of the Santiago river occurring above 800 m and having a dorsolateral row of enlarged spiny scales. The most similar species are E. rubrigularis, which occurs south of the Santiago river, and E. microlepis, which occurs below 800 m.

Picture: Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides praestabilis

Picture: Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides praestabilis

Picture: Adult female.

Adult female Enyalioides praestabilis

Picture: Subadult.

Subadult Enyalioides praestabilis

Picture: Juvenile.

Juvenile Enyalioides praestabilis

Natural history: Common. Enyalioides praestabilis is a diurnal terrestrial to semiarboreal lizard that sleeps inside hollow logs or perched on leaves, stems, branches or tree trunks 20–450 cm above the ground during the night.1,2 It occurs in primary and secondary evergreen forests usually close to bodies of water.1 This species avoids predators by running suddenly under logs or in holes in the ground.1 Females of E. praestabilis containing five eggs have been found.2

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

Distribution: Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador. Peruvian records of this species likely correspond to Enyalioides microlepis and E. rubrigularis.

Distribution of Enyalioides praestabilis 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 praestabilis, which comes from the Latin words prae (meaning “very”) and stabilis (meaning “firm”), is probably a reference to the erect scales covering the head of this species.5

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

Literature cited:

  1. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  2. Torres-Carvajal O, Etheridge R, De Queiroz K (2011) A systematic revision of Neotropical lizards in the clade Hoplocercinae. Zootaxa 2752: 1–44.
  3. Cisneros-Heredia DF, Gagliardi G, Moravec J, Aparicio J, Perez J (2015) Enyalioides praestabilis. 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. Brown RW (1956) Composition of scientific words. Smithsonian Books, Washington, 882 pp.