You are here

Argentine Black & White Tegu

Tupinambis merianae
Conservation Status: 
not evaluated
East and Central South America

The Argentine black and white tegu is the largest species of tegu.  It is also known as the Argentine giant tegu.  It belongs to the teiid family.  Tegus fill ecological niches similar to those of monitor lizards, and are an example of convergent evolution.  They are an omnivorous terrestrial species that inhabit the tropical rain forests of east and central South America.  Just as many other reptiles, Argentine Tegus will go into brumation (a form of hibernation) in autumn when the temperature drops.  A level of intelligence usually high for reptiles has been observed, along with a high level of physical activity during the wakeful period of the year.  It is believed that individuals of this species sometimes actively seek human attention, as would for example a cat or dog.

As hatchlings they have a yellow complexion with black markings; the yellow eventually fades to white within a couple of months after shedding.  Adult males are much larger than the females and can reach 3 feet in length at maturity and continue to grow to lengths of 4-4.5 feet.  The females are much smaller reaching up to 3 feet in total length, from nose to tail.  They have beaded skin and linear stripes running down their bodies.  Some black and white tegus can be bred with the red tegu and blue tegu.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Argentine Black & White Tegu", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.