Ameiva ameiva — Giant Ameiva
Some other names for this species:
Amazon Whiptail, Amazon Racerunner, Green Ameiva, South American Jungle Runner, South American Ground Lizard
I ran across two of these colorful, speedy, and non-cooperative lizards while photographing Gray's Spiny-tailed Iguanas on the former grounds of the Crandon Park Zoo. Apparently this is another species that escaped from its former cages and has since formed a long-term population.
I spent a good forty-five minutes one partly-sunny afternoon waiting for one of the local ameivas to stop moving long enough to get a good picture. If I moved at all, they would instantly dash away and not be seen for at least several minutes. I never did get a good picture; this is the best I could do with a tripod and a 300mm lens.
Unlike the population of these lizards on the former grounds of a zoo in Key Biscayne, Florida, the lizards living on the current grounds of this zoo in Iquitos are native animals taking advantage of the partly-cleared habitat. The largest and most colorful specimens spent most of their time on the inside of a chain-link fence that encircled some grass and a pond with a bunch of turtles. I think they were jealous of the turtles' interpretive sign and wanted one of their own.
- Bartlett, R. D., Bartlett, P. B. 1999. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition