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Honduran Paleate Spiny Tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura melanosterna)


aka: Black chested Spiny tailed Iguana or Rio Aguan Spiny Tailed Iguana $250ea for babies plus overnight shipping

mel pair

Babies now available, pic of breeder male above

According to the IUCN Red List, it is one of the most critically endangered Iguanas in the world due to a very limited range, occuring only in the Rio Aguan Valley on the Honduran mainland and Cayos Cochinos archipelago just off to the east of the Honduran mainland.


I have been working with these mid sized iguanas since 1993 when i was able to purchase my first pair from Glades Reptiles, who then imported them from a breeder in Germany. These hardy captives are alot of fun and thrive extremely well for me.

If you read about my sailfin care, the care is quite similar, but you will NOT need a very large water pan as they are NOT semi aquatic. High heat in the basking area and good humidity are very important to their well being as well as UVB and a well rounded omnivorous diet. Also be very careful with the babies as they are the fastest lizards that I produce! The adults seem to be way more laid back, but it will take getting the babies past the first 6months to slow down a bit and be relaxed around their keeper. Before you know it they will be charging the food bowl when it comes to feeding time!

C. melanosterna I think are the most unique of the Ctenosaura complex, they are very stout lizards wtih large dewlaps and shaggy long spikes running from the neck to the base of the tail. The tails are aligned with short spikes running in whorls all the way down to the tip. These spikes help arm the lizard, as well as enable them to wedge into any small crevice they can manage to squeeze into. They have a beautiful burnt-orange colored eye, and the overall coloration these lizards display is a nice contrasting black/grey that turns a light blue when fully heated up, with sulfur-yellow markings around the face and dewlap. Another striking feature is when they open their mouths you get a pretty pinkish red coloration!

Males of this species can easily attain 3ft (90cm) total length and therefore need plenty of horizontal and vertical space in their enclosures as well as cage decorations to climb upon and hide in. This is also very important when housing more than one animal, as each must have their own territories and basking areas.............a good idea for any enclosure housing multiple lizards!!! Their tails are not as proportionately long as, say, the green iguana, so visualize the body size of an adult C. melanosterna equal to that of a 4ft green iguana.

mel baby

Baby Ctenosaura melanosterna at about 2 weeks now available. When born they are brownish, then turn a pretty green, and later onto their adult coloration. Pretty eyes match my car :)



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