The Virtual Rainforest
A Neotropical Rainforest
Rainforest Research


Tree Seedlings

Forest Flowers



Army Ants

Bullet Ants
Leafcutter Ants

Rhinoceros Beetle

Swallowtail Butterfly



Keel-billed Toucan

Howler Monkeys

White-faced Monkeys

Three-toed Sloth
Baird's Tapir
White-lipped Peccary
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Poison Dart Frog
Helmeted Iguana
Eyelash Viper
Terciopelo Viper
Spectacled Caiman
American Crocodile
Human Systems:
Rainforest Boy
Rainforest Girl
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Rainforest Research

About the Authors





Casque-headed Lizard (Corytophanes cristatus)
Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons)

Army Ants - Eciton burchelli

The Green Iguana is one of the most well known lizard species. They can grow up to 7 feet (2 m) in length (including the tail) and can weigh over 20 pounds (9 kg). Green iguanas are vegetarians, or what scientists call herbivores. They only eat the leaves of the trees they climb in.

Green iguanas lay their eggs in the dirt like many other lizards. They look for dry, warm dirt or sand to dig a hole and bury the eggs. The little iguanas hatch and are bright green when born, making them very hard to see in the grass.



There are hundreds of species of lizards in the tropical rainforest. This species is called a Casque-headed Lizard, but it is also sometimes called a Helmeted Iguana. Watch the video and you will see the subtle movements that directors have copied for movie dinosaurs.

Like many other lizards, this species has the ability to change its color slightly from greenish to brownish.

Army Ants - Eciton burchelli

Army Ants - Eciton burchelli

Basilisk lizards like the Green Basilisk at right are some of the most amazing creatures on earth. They can literally RUN across the surface of the water, earning them the nickname "Jesus Christ Lizards."

This dinosaur-like adult male is unable to run on water. When basilisks get larger, the surface tension of the water is not strong enough to keep them from falling in. This is only a trick for the little guys.








The Virtual Rainforest

Back to the Rainforest

Copyright Gerald R. Urquhart
Michigan State University

Students and teachers have permission to quote text and use images from this website in class assignments. Images may be used in classroom and academic presentations with notification of author. All other use should request permission.


Virtual Rainforest development supported by grant #0815966 from the
National Science Foundation

Center for Global Change and Earth Observation

Michigan State University