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

2015 Grant $7,234

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


2012 Grant $8,300

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