Ctenosaura palearis

Motagua
Spiny-tailed Iguana

Stats

IUCN Status: Endangered
Range: Southeastern Guatemala
Population: Unknown, estimated less than 2,500
Size: Average length 8.1 inches in males and slightly smaller for females from snout to vent, 16–17 inches total, average weight ~6.5 ounces
Threats: Over-harvesting for bushmeat; habitat loss by conversion of forest to crops; illegal trade.
honduras

species Information

  • The Motagua Spiny-tailed Iguana is endemic to Guatemala and is restricted to the last remnants of seasonally dry tropical forest in the Motagua Valley in eastern Guatemala with an estimated population size of ~2,500 adult individuals.
  • This iguana is particularly associated with the Pitayo Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus pruinosus) and plays a key role in its dispersal, as seeds eaten by the iguana show a significant increase in germination success.
  • The main threat for Motagua Spiny-tailed Iguanas is over-harvesting by local villagers for bushmeat. Habitat loss is also a problem for the iguana, primarily due to the increased production of melon crops and the construction of new residential zones within the Motagua Valley.
  • In situ conservation strategies are taking place in the Motagua Valley. Part of the population is protected within the Heloderma Natural Reserve (HNR), managed by the Guatemalan non-profit organization Zootropic. Management of this species also includes a conservation breeding program within the reserve and education program reaching more than 1,500 children.
  • Ten more national parks have suitable habitat for the species and offer legal protection from habitat destruction and poaching, however enforcement is lacking and should be strengthened to conserve the species.

IIF Grants Received

Expanding the elementary education program for the conservation of the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura palearis at the influence area of Heloderma Natural Reserve


Daniel Ariano and Johanna Gil

$11,157

Education for Conservation, Habitat Protection and Population Reinforcement of the Motagua Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura palearis at Heloderma Natural Reserve and its Area of Influence

Daniel Ariano and Johanna Gil

$11,887

Reinforcement of Education for Conservation and Habitat Protection of the Endangered Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura palearis at Heloderma Natural Reserve and its Area of Influence

Daniel Ariano

$7,728

Community Outreach and Capacity-building for Long-term Conservation of the Endangered Motagua Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura palearis

Daniel Ariano

$10,970

Education for Conservation of the Endangered Motagua Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura palearis, as a Key Seed Disperser in the Seasonally Dry Forests Surrounding Four Rural Communities in Eastern Guatemala

Daniel Ariano and Johana Gil

$10,830

Assessment of the Seed Dispersal Ecosystem Service Given by the Endangered Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura palearis) in Guatemala, as a Tool to Promote In-country Conservation of the Species and its Habitat Through Ecosystem Services

Daniel Ariano and Johana Gil

$10,240

Increasing Local Capacities for the Conservation of the Critically Endangered Ctenosaura palearis in the Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests of Eastern Guatemala

Daniel Ariano and Luis Alvarado

$10,433

Funding provided by IIF in 2010 will allow for continued monitoring studies and expansion of the current education program. The field monitoring program of the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana and its habitat will georeference at detail every cactus inside the reserve and monitor the movements of marked individuals (bead tags) of the species within this area to determine the patterns of habitat use. Expansion of the educational program will include a series of four workshops focused on developing a National Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana and its habitat (focused on cactus conservation).

Reports from the Field