Basiliscus plumifrons, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Basiliscus plumifrons Cope, 1876
* Basiliscus plumifrons Cope, 1875
* FA Bisby, YR Roskov, MA Ruggiero, TM Orrell, LE Paglinawan, PW Brewer, N Bailly, J van Hertum, eds (2007). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2007 Annual Checklist. Digital resource at www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2007/. Species 2000: Reading, U.K.
The plumed basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons, also called a green basilisk or double crested basilisk, is a species of lizard native to Latin America. Its natural range covers a swath from Mexico to Ecuador.
The plumed basilisk's generic name basiliscus is taken from the creature of Greek mythology made up of parts of a rooster, snake, and lion which could turn a man to stone by its gaze: the Basilisk. This name derives from the Greek basilískos (βασιλίσκος) meaning "little king". This epithet was given in Carolus Linnaeus' 10th edition of Systema Naturae.
Plumed basilisks are bright green with small bluish spots along the dorsal ridge. These lizards may grow up to 3 ft (1 m) in length (most of which is tail), with an average length of about 2 ft (0.6 m). Males have three crests: one on the head, one on their back, and one on the tail. The females, however, only have one crest, on the head.
Plumed basilisks are omnivorous and eat insects, small mammals (such as rodents), smaller species of lizards, fruits and flowers. Their predators include birds of prey, opossums and snakes.
This lizard is able to run short distances across water using both its feet and tail for support, an ability shared with other basilisks and the Malaysian sail-finned lizard, Hydrosaurus amboinensis. In Costa Rica, this has earned the plumed basilisk the nickname "Jesus Christ lizard". It is also an excellent swimmer and can stay under water for up to 30 minutes.
1. ^ "Basiliscus plumifrons". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=683025.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License