Coloptychon rhombifer

Coloptychon rhombifer
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Infraorder: Anguimorpha
Family: Anguidae
Genus: Coloptychon
Species: C. rhombifer
Binomial name
Coloptychon rhombifer
(W. Peters, 1876)
  • Gerrhonotus rhombifer
    W. Peters, 1876
  • Coloptychon rhombifer
    — Tihen, 1949 [1]

Coloptychon rhombifer, also known as the isthmian alligator lizard, is a species of lizard of the Anguidae family. C. rhombifer is found in both Costa Rica and Panama. Unlike many lizards near its habitat, individuals have lateral folds. They give birth to live young. Examples of the species had not been seen during the latter half of the 20th century.


First described by Wilhelm Peters in 1879 as Gerrhonotus rhombifer, the species was placed in the genus Coloptychon by Joseph A. Tihen in 1949, which was then confirmed by David A. Good in 1988.[2]


C. rhombifer is a broad-headed, long-bodied lizard, which is similar to Diploglossus monotropis. An adult measures from 35–50 centimetres (14–20 in) in total length, with the tail making up approximately two-thirds of the total length. The upper surface of the body is tan in color with black-edged brown crossbands, and does not have either orange or red markings.[2] C. rhombifer is short-limbed, and has movable eyelids.[3] A well-defined lateral fold, covering small scales, separates the ridges and rows of scales on the belly.[3] The only other species of lizards in Costa Rica that also have lateral folds are of the genus Mesapis.[2]


The isthmian alligator lizard is viviparous,[3] meaning that as with mammals, the females bear live young.[4]


C. rhombifer had not been seen for fifty years, prior to being rediscovered in 2000 near Golfito,[5] and is one of the rarest species of lizard in Costa Rica.[6]

Habitat & Geographic range

The isthmian alligator lizard lives in the lowland rainforests of Costa Rica,[2] and in western Panama.[1] C. rhombifer can mostly be found on land, but has also been found living in trees.[3]


  1. 1 2 "Coloptychon rhombifer ". Reptile Database. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Savage, Jay M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 532533 of 954. ISBN 978-0-226-73538-2.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Munoz Chacon, Federico. "Coloptychon rhombifer (Peters 1876)" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  4. "Viviparous". BBC Nature. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  5. "The Rain Forest Conservation Fund". Fundacion UdG / ProSur. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  6. "Une espèce redécouverte - Le lézard Coloptychon rhombifer". MSN News (in French). 27 October 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2011.

Further reading

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