Monday, May 18, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] The Gerrhonotine Genus Coloptychon (Sauria: Anguidae)

An adult male Isthmian Alligator Lizard, Coloptychon rhombifer, from Cerro San Juan de Rincón, Cantón de Osa, Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica, elev. 500 m. For a century, this enigmatic anguid lizard was known from only three specimens. Although more individuals have been found, the lizard is largely a mystery. Its habits in the wild, diet, reproductive behavior, and osteology remain unknown. When approached closely, Coloptychon is prone to bite defensively.
photo: César L. Barrio-Amorós


We discuss the provenance, history, and literature pertaining to the poorly known lizard Coloptychon rhombifer (Anguidae: Gerrhonotinae). We include English translations of both the original description of this species by Peters (1876) and the first extensive re-description by Bocourt (1878) from the German and French, respectively. We report on six recently discovered individuals, increasing the total number known to 13. We also discuss habitat and distribution, ontogenetic variation in color and pattern, and provide pertinent observations of captive behavior.

Key Words: Coloptychon rhombifer, Chiriquí, Costa Rica, Gerrhonotinae, Gerrhonotus, Panama

William W. Lamar, César L. Barrio-Amorós, Quetzal Dwyer, Juan G. Abarca and Roel De Plecker. 2015. The Gerrhonotine genus Coloptychon (Sauria: Anguidae). Mesoamerican Herpetology. 2(1); 88-104.