Plumed Basilisk

Plumed Basilisk

Green basilisk, Double crested basilisk, Jesus Christ lizard, Jesus christ lizard

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Genus
SPECIES
Basiliscus plumifrons
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
8-12 years
Top speed
11
7
km/hmph
km/h mph 
Length
91
36
cminch
cm inch 

The plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons ), also called the green basilisk, double crested basilisk, or Jesus Christ lizard, is a species of lizard in the family Corytophanidae. The species is native to Central America.

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The plumed basilisk's native range spans southern Mexico and northern Colombia. B. plumifrons inhabits hot, humid rainforests that contain streams, rivers or other water bodies.

The physical appearance of the plumed basilisk is striking: it sports a bright green color along its body with black and white streaks along its neck and back. Their physical appearance differs by sex, as they are sexually dimorphic; males have a distinct crest on the back and tail and large plumes on top of their heads, while females typically only have a singular, much smaller, crest on their head.

The green crested or plumed lizard is unique in its ability to run across water with speed and the method it employs to do this. It displays the behaviour as a threat response, when fleeing predators. High speed is maintained in order to prevent sinking.

This lizard is extraordinarily territorial and is known for its aggressive behaviour to the extent that multiple male lizards cannot be maintained within the same enclosure. However, they do exist in the wild in large groups that allow for multiple males.

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Di

Diurnal

Om

Omnivore

Te

Terrestrial

Ar

Arboreal

Se

Semiaquatic

Pr

Precocial

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

P

starts with

Appearance

The Plumed basilisk is a species of lizard native to Central America. Adults are brilliant green in color, with bright yellow eyes, and small bluish spots along the dorsal ridge. Males have three crests: one on the head, one on the back, and one on the tail, while females only have the head crest. Juveniles are less conspicuously colored and lack the characteristic crests.

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Subcontinents
Biogeographical realms

Plumed basilisks range from eastern Honduras, through Nicaragua and Costa Rica, to western Panama. They live in tropical rainforests usually near bodies of water.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Plumed basilisks are semi-arboreal and semi-aquatic creatures. They are active during the day spending much of the time basking or foraging for food. Males are very territorial; a single male may keep land containing a large group of females with whom he mates. Plumed basilisks are able to run short distances across the water using both their feet and tail for support. In Costa Rica, this has even earned these lizards the nickname "Jesus Christ lizards." They are also excellent swimmers and can stay under the water for up to an hour.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Plumed basilisks are omnivores and eat insects, spiders, small mammals (such as rodents), small birds, small nonvenomous snakes, smaller species of lizards, amphibians, small fish, crustaceans (such as freshwater shrimp and crayfish), fruits, seeds, flowers, and leaves.

Mating Habits

INCUBATION PERIOD
8-10 weeks
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
BABY NAME
hatchling
web.animal_clutch_size
5-15 eggs

Females of Plumed basilisks lay 5 to 15 eggs at a time in warm, damp sand or soil. The eggs hatch after 8-10 weeks, at which point the young emerge as fully independent lizards. They will become reproductively mature and start to breed at the age of 18-24 months.

Population

Population threats

The Plumed basilisk is threatened by habitat loss which is caused mainly by urbanization and expansion of agriculture.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Plumed basilisk is common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Plumed basilisk is the largest basilisk species.
  • The name 'basilisk' comes from Greek and means 'little king'.
  • Plump basilisks are able to run across the surface of water due to their high speed and specialized scales on the bottom of their feet.

Coloring Pages

References

1. Plumed Basilisk on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumed_basilisk
2. Plumed Basilisk on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/203046/2759302

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