Reptiles Endemic to Jamaica

Jamaican Iguana

(Squamata Sauria - Iguanidae)

Jamaican Iguana - Cyclura collei

Once presumed extinct since the 1940s, a tiny population was discovered in 1990 in the remote tropical dry forest of the Hellshire Hills in southern Jamaica. The discovery inspired conservationist to work to increase the population of the wild Jamaican Iguanas. The numbers have been on a steady increase annually, leading to the recovery of the Jamaican Iguana being considered one of the greatest success stories in conservation science. The habitat today, is in the Hellshire Hills, a rugged limestone area with suitable habitat totalling 44 sq miles.

Six Native Species of the Jamaican Anole

(Squamata Sauria - Dactyloidae)

Jamaican Giant Anole

Jamaican Turquoise Anole

Jamaican Gray Anole

Jamaican Bluefields Anole

Jamaican Blue Mountain Anole

Jamaican Jamaican Twig Anole

Jamaican Anole

Anole: A lizard from the Americas that have a brightly colored dewlap and the ability to change color. There are six native species of Anolis on Jamaica. Five of the native species are distributed islandwide whereas the sixth, the blue mountain anole, only exists in the blue mountains. One additional species, the Anolis Sagrei, was introduced to the island from Cuban.

Jamaican Giant Anole - Anolis Garmani: Introduced to Miami in the 1970s. Its moniker of "giant" is misleading as typically grows to 4 inches. Dewlap color: Golden yellow.

Jamaican Turquoise Anole - Anolis Grahami: Also called Graham's Anole. Dewlap color: Orange with yellow.

Jamaican Gray Anole - Anolis Lineatopus: Also called Stripe-footed Anole /Stripefoot Anole, Dewlap color: Soft yellow

Bluefields Anole - Anolis Opalinus: Also called the Jamaican Opal-bellied Anole. Dewlap color: Orange-red with broad yellow rim

Blue Mountain Anole - Anolis Reconditus: Dewlap color: Lemon yellow

Jamaican Twig Anole - Anolis Valencienni: Also called the Short-tail Anole. Dewlap color: Light purple

Six Native Species of the Jamaican Galliwasp

(Squamata Sauria - Diploglossidae)

Limestone Forest Galliwasp
Celestus barbouri


Blue-tailed Galliwasp
Celestus duquesneyi

Photo: Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group

Bromeliad Galliwasp
Celestus fowleri


Red-spotted Galliwasp
Celestus hewardi


Small-eyed Galliwasp
Celestus microblepharis


Galliwasp: a group of carnivorous foraging lizards, eating primarily insects, found in South and Central America and the Antilles. They are from the Anguidae group that includes alligator lizards, glass lizards to name a few exmples.)

Seven Native Species of the Jamaican Gecko

(Squamata Sauria - Sphaerodactylidae)

Jamaican Tailspot Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus dacnicolor


Jamaican Collared Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus gilvitorques


Jamaican Forest Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus goniorhynchus


Jamaican Sharp-nosed Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus oxyrhinus


Southern Jamaica Banded Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus parkeri

Photo: Joseph Burgess

Northern Jamaica Banded Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus richardsonii



A type of lizard that is mostly small, usually nocturnal reptiles with a soft skin found on every continent except Antartica. They have a short stout body, a large head, and typically well-developed legs equipped with toes that are covered in microscopic hairs allowing them to climb walls and ceilings.

Cockpit Eyespot Dwarf Gecko
Sphaerodactylus semasiops


Jamaican Boa

(Squamata Serpentes - Boidae)

Jamaican Boa - Chilabothrus subflavus.

Also known as the Yellow snake, the Jamaican Boa is the largest terrestrial predator native to the island. These snakes are non-venomous constrictors and can weigh up to 11lbs with lengths from 5-7.5 ft. Found only in Jamaica, these snakes have lost nearly 90% of their habitat, with only a few solated pockets remaining, leading to a fragmented distribution on the island. Rats are a major part of their diet.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Jamaican Dwarf Boas

(Squamata Serpentes - Tropidophiidae)

Jamaican Brown Dwarf Boa
Tropidophis jamaicensis.

Also called the Jamaican Brown Trope.

Jamaican Eyespot Dwarf Boa
Tropidophis stejnegeri

Portland Ridge Dwarf Boa
Tropidophis stullae

Jamaican Racerlets

(Squamata Serpentes - Colubridae)

Jamaican Red Racerlet
Hypsirhynchus callilaemus

Jamaican Black Racerlet
Hypsirhynchus funereus

Jamaican Long-tailed Racerlet
Hypsirhynchus polylepis

Jamaican Blindsnake

(Squamata Serpentes - Typhlopidae)

Jamaican Blindsnake
Typhlops jamaicensis:

Jamaican Skink

(Squamata Sauria - Scincidae)

Jamaican Skink
Spondylurus fulgidus

Jamaica Ameiva

(Squamata Sauria - Teiidae)

Jamaica Ameiva
Pholidoscelis dorsalis

Also known by the more common name of Jamaican ground lizard.

Jamaican Slider

(Testudines - Emydidae)

Jamaican Slider
Trachemys terrapen

Also called the Cat Island Slider, the Jamaican slider is a fresh water turtle that is endemic to Jamaica. It is widely dispersed across the island and is considered to be a "threatened" population.


  • Lizard: Jamaican Curlytail - Leiocephalus jamaicensis
  • Snake: Jamaican Racer - Hypsirhynchus ater
  • Galliwasp: Jamaican Giant - Celestus occiduus
  • Gecko: Jamaican Giant Gecko - Tarentola albertschwartzi

  • The Lizard's Tale

    Educational Research Videos

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 1: Meet The Anoles!

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 2: Does Evolution Repeat Itself?

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 3: Anoles In Deep Time

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 4: The Origin of Anole Species

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 5: Island Test Tubes (Part 1)

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 6: Island Test Tubes (Part 2)

    The Lizard's Tale - Episode 7: Anoles In The City