Ctenosaura melanosterna

Spiny-tailed Iguana


Range: Rio Aguán Valley and Cayos Cochinos, Honduras
Population: Less than 5,000 among 2 range areas
Size: Males average 9.5″ in length and 1.3 lbs in Cayos Cochinos, max up to 12.5″ length and 3.1 lbs. Males in Rio Aguán Valley are 2″ shorter and half the weight
Threats: Habitat destruction; Introduced predators; Over-exploitation for local consumption; Illegal international pet trade
  • The Black-chested Spiny-tailed Iguana is endemic Honduras and occurs in two sub populations, the Rio Aguán Valley in northern Honduras and Cayos Cochinos off the Caribbean coast of Honduras.
  • They inhabit tropical and subtropical dry forest and scrubland, which is underthreat due to conversion to agriculture land in the Rio Aguán Valley.
  • They are threatened also by illegal poaching of meat and eggs, despite being protected by a national ban on iguana hunting in Honduras. In Olanchito, Valle de Aguán, a festival exists in which the consumption of these iguanas is celebrated and is culturally significant.
  • Cayos Cochinos is located in the Bay Islands Marine Park and the Iguanas are offered some  protection on the islands, on the mainland they occur in the south of one protected area, Pico Bonito National Park, although protection is limited in this region. 
  •  Management, monitoring, protection of habitat, environmental education and enforcement of protection laws are needed for the conservation of the species.