The Iguanidae are a family of lizards composed of iguanas and related species.[1]


Several classification schemes have been used to define the structure of this family. The "historical" classification recognized all New World iguanians, plus Brachylophus and the Madagascar oplurines, as informal groups and not as formal subfamilies.[2]

Frost and Etheridge (1989) formally recognized these informal groupings as families. This view is not generally accepted.[3][4]

Macey et al., (1997) in their analysis of molecular data for iguanian lizards recovered a monophyletic Iguanidae and formally recognized the eight families proposed by Frost and Etheridge (1989) as subfamilies of Iguanidae.[5]

Schulte et al., (2003) reanalyzed the morphological data of Frost and Etheridge in combination with molecular data for all major groups of Iguanidae and recovered a monophyletic Iguanidae, but the subfamilies Polychrotinae and Tropidurinae were not monophyletic. The phylogenetic classification of Iguania from this work is the current and most generally accepted classification of iguanid lizards.[6]

Historical classification

Family Iguanidae

Frost et al., (1989) classification of iguanas

Family Corytophanidae
Family Crotaphytidae
Family Hoplocercidae
Family Iguanidae

Family Opluridae
Family Phrynosomatidae
Family Polychridae
Family Tropiduridae

Macey et al., (1997) classification of Iguanidae

Family Iguanidae

Schulte et al., (2003) classification of Iguanidae

Here families and subfamilies are proposed as clade names, but may be recognized under the traditional Linnean nomenclature.


  • subclade of Polychrotinae Anolis: anoles
  • subclade of Polychrotinae Leiosaurini: leiosaurs
  • subclade of Leiosaurini Leiosaurae:
  • subclade of Leiosaurini Anisolepae:
  • subclade of Tropidurinae Leiocephalus: curly-tailed lizards
  • subclade of Tropidurinae Liolaemini: South American swifts
  • subclade of Tropidurinae Tropidurini: neotropical ground lizards


  1. Bauer, Aaron M. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G., eds. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 140–142. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
  2. Etheridge, Richard; de Queiroz, Kevin (1988). Estes, R.; Pregill, G., eds. Phylogenetic Relationships of the Lizard Families, Essays Commemorating Charles L. Camp. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. pp. 283–368. ISBN 0-8047-1435-5.
  3. D.R. Frost & R. Etheridge (1989) «A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of iguanian lizards (Reptilia: Squamata)» Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist. Misc. Publ. 81
  4. D.R. Frost, R. Etheridge, D. Janies & T.A. Titus (2001) Total evidence, sequence alignment, evolution of polychrotid lizards, and a reclassification of the Iguania (Squamata: Iguania) American Museum Novitates 3343: 38 pp.
  5. Macey, J.R., A. Larson, N.B. Ananjeva, and Papenfuss, T.J. (1997) [Evolutionary shifts in three major structural features of the mitochondrial genome among iguanian lizards.] Journal of Molecular Evolution 44: 660-674
  6. Schulte II, J.A., J.P. Valladares, and A. Larson (2003) [Phylogenetic relationships within Iguanidae inferred using molecular and morphological data and a phylogenetic taxonomy of iguanian lizards.] Herpetologica 59: 399-419
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