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Corytophanes cristatus is a slender, medium-sized lizard that occurs in Central American rainforests and wet forests from southern Mexico to northwestern Colombia. The specific epithet cristatus refers to its most conspicuous anatomical feature, a prominent casque or crest on its head. This species is colored gray, brown, and black with traces of green, such that it blends in very well with small tree trunks, where it is most commonly found perching vertically with its head facing upward. It is a classic example of a sit-and-wait predator, resting immobile for long periods of time and striking primarily at prey that venture within range. This lifestyle is apparently adapted to help C. cristatus escape visual detection by potential predators. Like many lizards, this species may bite if threatened or provoked. However, rumors that it is venomous are unfounded.


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© Lee Dietterich and Rachelle Ludwick

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

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