Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gerrhosauridae

Genus: Zonosaurus maximus

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Relatively flattened body with a long, pointed snout. The body is covered with heavy armor of large, bony, keeled scales, especially on the dorsal surface. The scaleless area along the sides functions as expansion joints for gravid females that allow distention after feeding. Length is up to 70 cm (28 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar, this species is found in lowland humid forest associated with rivers and streams as well as non-forested riparian areas where it builds dens close to water. When disturbed, it seeks shelter in water and can stay submerged for several minutes.

DIET IN THE WILD: Plant matter, invertebrates, small rodents, other reptiles.

PREDATORS: Predators are primarily snakes.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous. Life span: about 20 years.




CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Vulnerable (VU)
Populations are severely fragmented and declining because of the reduced size and quality of habitat due to agricultural activities. Mature animals may also be over-collected for the pet trade. Some sites where this plated lizard occurs are fortunately under conservation management, including newly protected areas.

LOCATION:  Madagascar Rainforest  MA13


California Academy of Sciences, Docent Rainforest Training Manuel 2014

Encyclopedia of Life

IUCN Red List

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