Basiliscus plumifrons — Emerald Basilisk
Some other names for this species:
Double-crested Basilisk, Plumed Basilisk, Green Basilisk
On this trip to Costa Rica my top wildlife goal was to finally lay eyes on this fantastic lizard. This adult female made an appearance on the grounds of our lodge on our second day in the country (which was our first day outside of the capital city San José). It was about twenty feet away from our friend Tosty the caiman.
Early the next morning we got looks at a few youngsters when we took a boat tour around Tortuguero National Park. This is the closest I got to a photo of one of these speedy little lizards running across the water. So close!
This was the first adult male we saw, later in the morning from the same boat. Somehow the captain had noticed this obscured, camouflaged, motionless creature from halfway across the river. We were a little suspicious that the captain was revisiting a known basilisk hangout spot, but our guide assured us that the captain had actually seen the lizard without knowing in advance that it would be there.
A couple of days later and a little further inland, my next B. plumifrons encounter was with this spry young lizard, whom we christened "Benchy" due to its morning basking spot on a stone bench in the middle of an expansive grassy lawn. When I got close for photos, it abandoned its post and demonstrated its excellent camouflage against the non-natural grass.
Later that afternoon I caught a quick glimpse of this monster male basilisk before it crashed off into the forest. Definitely the best-looking B. plumifrons yet, but not cooperative.
At long last, a beautiful adult male Emerald Basilisk holding a pose in plain sight for my photographing pleasure. This mini-dinosaur lurked in the carefully cultivated garden foliage around the outdoor dining room of Hotel Arenal Springs while we enjoyed a fine lunch. This has got to be one of the world's best lizards.
- Guyer, C., Donnelly, M. A. 2005. Amphibians and Reptiles of La Selva, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean Slope
- Leenders, T. 2001. A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica
- Savage, J. M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica