Ctenosaura quinquecarinata

Spiny-tailed Iguana


IUCN Status: Data Deficient
Range: Nicaragua to Northwestern Costa Rica
Population: Unknown, believe to be decreasing
Size: Up to 4.75 inches snout-to-vent length, 3 ounces
Threats: habitat destruction and intentional fear-based killing.

Species Information

  • The Five-keeled Spiny-tailed Iguana is found in three core areas that are isolated and distant from each other, along the Pacific versant of Nicaragua and northwestern Costa Rica.
  • The iguanas occurs in tropical and subtropical dry forest, both in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and is sometimes found in human altered habitats.
  • They are threatened by habitat fragmentation and destruction for agricultural land conversion, hunting for meat and in some areas killed because of a belief that they are poisonous. 
  • Currently they are protected through a seasonal ban on hunting, by the Ministry of the Environment of Nicaragua, however enforcement is lacking.
  • Very little is known about the Costa Rican sub population of this species and attention should be given to this area.

IIF Grants Awarded

Effects of Habitat Fragmentation and Hunting on the Genetic Diversity of the Threatened Oaxacan Spiny-tailed Iguana. Part 2: Evaluation of the Genetic Diversity of the Sister Taxa the Yellow-backed Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura flavidorsalis) and Five-keeled Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura quinquecarinata)

Gabriela Díaz-Juárez


Population Assessment and Environmental Education to Conserve the Endangered Five-keeled Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura quinquecarinata, in Nicaragua’s Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor

Kim Williams-Guillen and Cesar Otero-Ortuno


Reports from the Field