IGUANA, a genus of saurian reptiles, the type of the family iguanidce, a family which contains many genera and species, and to which belong seine of the largest saurians now existing, except those of the crocodile family. Far larger saurians allied to them existed in former geological periods. See IGUANODON. The iguanickc have a lizard-like form and a long tail. The tongue is thick, fleshy, not extensile, and is notched at the tip. They have rows of small teeth on the palate, and their jaw-teeth are remarkable both for their form and mode of insertion, not being lodged in distinct sockets, but fixed in a kind of furrow along the internal face of the jawbone, adhering by one side of the bony surface of the root. The food of the iguanidce consists chiefly of leaves and fruits. They are all natives of warm climates. In the genus iguana the back exhibits a row of elevated, compressed, pointed scales along as whole length and which is continued to the extremity of the tail; whilst under the throat is a great dewlap-like pouch. The feet have long toes, not webbed, with sharp claws,
well adapted for climbing trees, while tail is the organ of progres sion used in swimming. The COMMON IGUANA, or GUANA, is abundant in the West Indies and tropical parts of America, living mostly among trees. It attains a length of 4 or 5 feet. It is of a greenish yellow color, mottled with green, the tail ringed with brown. It is esteemed a most delicate article of food, and is used by all classes of persons. It is often caught by means of a noose thrown ovv its head; dogs have also been trained to hunt it on some of the West India key's, where it has not oppor tunity of taking refuge in trees. The eggs—which are about the size of those of a pigeon, but have no hard shell, andiare laid in the sand—are also eaten, and arc very pleasant. Other species of iguana and nearly allied genera are eaten in tropical Amer ica, as the horned iguana (I. cornuta, or metapoceros cornutus) of Hayti. The true iguanas are all American.