Cercosaura argula — Elegant Eyed Lizard
This species was formerly placed in the genus Prionodactylus. Some references show two extremely similar species in this area, C. argula and C. oshaughnessyi. On my website I'm following the online Reptile Database, which treats the two species as synonyms.
Some references use the Latin name argulus, which was grammatically appropriate when the genus was Prionodactylus. Recently it has been updated to argula to appropriately match the gender of Cercosaura.
By day I could usually only get a quick glimpse before the lizard would vanish into the leaf litter.
Amazonian Manatees are really cute, being smaller than Florida manatees but having basically the same big blobby cute shape. And the wild lizards living at the Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos are pretty cute too.
Males like this one have very prominent "ocelli" (eye-like markings) on their sides. Females have significantly less visible side-dots.
This one is a female, with dots on her side that are visible but much less obvious than on the male pictured above. In the first photo here you can see her black-and-white forked tongue. We watched her poking around in the leaves, periodically extending her tongue, looking like a little tiny monitor lizard.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest