Cuban rock iguana

Cyclura nubila

Conservation status

Vulnerable (IUCN 2.3)[1]

Scientific classification







C. nubila

Binomial name

Cyclura nubila[2]
(Gray, 1831)


Cyclura nubila caymanensis
Cyclura nubila nubila

The Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubila), also known as the Cuban ground iguana or Cuban iguana,[3] is a species of lizard of the iguana family. It is the largest of the West Indian rock iguanas (genus Cyclura), one of the most endangered groups of lizards. This herbivorous species with red eyes, a thick tail, and spiked jowls is one of the largest lizards in the Caribbean.
The Cuban iguana is distributed throughout the rocky southern coastal areas of mainland Cuba and its surrounding islets with a feral population thriving on Isla Magueyes, Puerto Rico. A subspecies is found on the Cayman Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Females guard their nest sites and often nest in sites excavated by Cuban crocodiles. As a defense measure, the Cuban iguana often makes its home within or near prickly-pear cacti.
Although the wild population is in decline because of predation by feral animals and habitat loss caused by human agricultural development, the numbers of iguanas have been bolstered as a result of captive-breeding and other conservation programs. Cyclura nubila has been used to study evolution and animal communication, and its captive-breeding program has been a model for other endangered lizards in the Caribbean.


1 Taxonomy
2 Anatomy and morphology
3 Diet
4 Mating and behavior
5 Distribution and habitat
6 Conservation

6.1 Decline
6.2 Recovery

7 References
8 Footnotes
9 Further reading
10 External links


In the Ústí nad Labem Zoo

The Cuban rock iguana’s generic name Cyclura is derived from the Ancient Greek cyclos (κύκλος) meaning “circular” and ourá (οὐρά) meaning “tail”, after the thick-ringed tail characteristic of all Cyclura.[4][5] John Edward Gray, the British zoologist who first described the species in 1831 as Iguana (Cyclura) nubila or “Clouded Guana”, gave it the specific name nubila, Latin for “cloudy”.[3][6][7]
The closest relatives of Cyclura nubila are the Grand Cayman blue iguana (Cyclura lewisi) and the Northern Bahamian rock iguana (Cyclura cychlura); phylogenetic analysis indicates that these