Ctenosaura palearis

Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana

Ctenosaura palearis (Stejneger, 1899)
Endangered (IUCN)

Basic info

Common names
  • Guatemalan Black Iguana
  • Motagua Spiny-tailed Iguana
  • Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana
Species nameCtenosaura palearis
Scientific nameCtenosaura palearis Stejneger, 1899
Ctenosaura palearis
Max SVL 12.2 inch

Further Reading

Temperatures & Season

Day time temperatures

Background25 - 33 °F
Basking spot40 - 45 °F

Night time temperatures

Background23 - 25 °F


Photoperiod12 hours


Microhabitats are specific small habitats that an organism inhabits within its broader environment. These can vary greatly depending on the species and can give us insights into the preferred living conditions of each reptile. Understanding these microhabitats can be key to providing the correct care for these animals in captivity.

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Ferguson Zones

Ferguson Zones are a way to classify the amount of UV light that reptiles are exposed to in their natural habitats. These zones help us understand and replicate their natural light conditions in captivity, promoting the health and wellbeing of the reptiles. Below, we detail the specific Ferguson Zones of the Chinese Water Dragon, along with recommendations for replicating these conditions

The Ferguson Zone in which the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana has been placed has been chosen based upon an assessment of its typical basking behaviour and likely microhabitat in the wild.

Open or partial sun basker
UVI range avarage: 1-2.6, UVI max recorded: 2.9-7.4

Recommended lighting methods in captivity

Sunbeam method

This method uses the 'Max UVI Recorded' value as a guide for the upper limit of the UVB gradient in captivity. This maximum should be the highest level which a Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana can obtain at its closest approach to its UVB lamp. The highlighted area in the table below represents this range for the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana.


More in-depth information about Ferguson zones can be found here: https://jzar.org/jzar/article/view/150

Community collected distribution (80 occurrences)


These are the biomes the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana was found in. Click here to learn more about terrestrial ecoregions and biomes.

More species to explore

Baker's Spiny-tailed Iguana

Ctenosaura bakeri (Stejneger, 1901)

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Black Chuckwalla

Sauromalus hispidus (Stejneger, 1891)

Common Chuckwalla

Sauromalus ater (Duméril, 1856)

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  1. Baines, F.M., Chattell, J., Dale, J., Garrick, D., Gill, I., Goetz, M., Skelton, T. and Swatman, M. 2016. How much UVB does my reptile need? The UV-Tool, a guide to the selection of UV lighting for reptiles and amphibians in captivity. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research. 4, 1 (Jan. 2016), 42–63. DOI:https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v4i1.150.
  2. Ctenosaura palearis Stejneger, 1899 in GBIF Secretariat (2021). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei accessed via GBIF.org
  3. Stejneger, L. Description of a new species of spiny-tailed iguana from Guatemala.
  4. Blackwell, Publishing & Ltd, & Meiri, Shai. (2008). Evolution and ecology of lizard body sizes. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 17. 724-. 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2008.00414.x.
  5. iNaturalist. Available from https://www.inaturalist.org
This website is created by Jefrim Keijzer | All species