February 14, 2011
We spotted this iguana sunning in Chankanaab National Park, Cozumel, Mexico. This is a green iguana ((Iguana iguana) despite it’s coloration. Pigmentation of the iguana varies with age, breeding season, temperature, social status, health or mood. The iguana’s skin is made up of scaled layers which contain a variety of carotenoid pigments. Over 600 carotenoids have been identified so far. These orange, red, and yellow pigments are synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. Animals accumulate carotenoid pigments which have a variety of biological functions including coloring, vision, functioning of immune system, antioxidant activity, and intercellular communication.