Added 30 December 2014.

A look at the

Genus Uranoscodon – Diving Lizard


Genus Uranoscodon – Diving Lizard

Monotypic genus variously assigned in the past to Ophryoessa or Tropidurus. I have not seen any of these available in the UK, but in any case these lizards, which appear to have a penchant for water, would require a specialist setup rather similar to that for, say, water dragons. Bosch and Werning suggest a rainforest terrarium.

Scientific Name

Common Name





U. superciliosus

Diving Lizard, Mophead

Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, N Brazil, Peru, Bolivia

Max approx 18”/45cm TL (SVL 6”/15cm)

An arboreal inhabitant of the eastern Amazon Basin, most often associated with creekside and swamp habitat. [Bartlett and Bartlett]. Like Iguana iguana and certain other lizards of the iguanid and agamid families it is both a good swimmer and good diver [ibid]. Scalation details: canthus rostralis and superciliary edge angular, projecting; nostril pierced above canthus rostralis, nearer end of snout than orbit; upper head-scales small, irregular, strongly keeled or tubercular; enlarged subconical tubercles surrounding large rugose occipital; 5-6 supralabials and 5-6 sublabials; gular scales strongly keeled; throat with strong transverse folds; gulars strongly keeled; nuchal and dorsal crests form low serrated ridge, of which nuchal slightly more developed; dorsal and lateral scales small, equal, rhomboidal, imbricate, strongly keeled; ventrals larger, also strongly keeled; equal keeled scales on limbs. Other: head moderately large, short, rounded; tympanum vertically oval, a little larger than eye-opening; limbs long; digits long and slender, toes strongly denticulated laterally. Tail: strongly compressed, crested like the back; length twice SVL; caudal scales subequal, keeled, the lower larger. Coloration: overall dark; dorsum olive-brown to brown, broken by very small and irregularly arranged flecks; venter and throat light. Reproduction: clutch of 4-10 eggs; incubation about 100 days. [SOURCES: Bartlett & Bartlett, Boulenger]



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