Colic modifications in iguanine lizards



All lizard species of the subfamily Iguaninae except Amblyrynchus cristatus possess from one to eleven transverse valves in the proximal colon. Valves are of two kinds: circular (sometimes with a sphincter valve) or semilunar. Circular valves (if present) always occur proximally to semilunar valves. Intraspecific variation in the number and type of valves is small, but increase with modal number of valves. No significant ontogenetic change in number of valves could be demonstrated. Colic valves in iguanine lizards apparently evolved as simple infoldings of the medical colic wall.

Comparisons are made with colic modifications occurring in other lizard families. Herbivorous species of the Scincidae, Agamidae, and Iguanidae are the only lizards known to exhibit colic partitioning, suggesting that the evolution of these structures is intimately related to the evolution of herbivory in these lizards. The potential taxonomic and phylogenetic importance of lizard colon anatomy is discussed.