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Estimation of Age in Nesting Female Iguana iguana: Testing Skeletochronology in a Tropical Lizard

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Skeletal elements of female Iguana iguana nesting in Panama show a distinct pattern of periosteal rings or marks of skeletal growth (MSGs), thereby indicating a pattern of cyclic growth. The numbers of MSGs, assuming one MSG is formed each year, slightly underestimate the known ages of a small sample of female iguanas. Based on the estimated age data, female iguanas probably reach sexual maturity in their fourth or fifth years. Age estimates and size are poorly correlated, and females nesting for the first time on Slothia are 292-415 mm in body length (SVL) and range in estimated minimum age from 3-8 yr.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560; 2: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Box 2072, Balboa, Panama


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