Crowned Tolok ‘dinosaur look alike’ carries out important insect pest control labor

Photo: (La Jornada Maya)

YUCATÁN, (June 08, 2021).- The crowned lemacto, better known as crowned tolok is a native species of the states of Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo, although it has been noted in other states of the Mexican Republic and even in the country of Belize, specialists indicate that it is characterized for being a pest control for various insects.

Distinguished for being a species that attracts children due to its green color, the tolok can be seen in almost any area of ​​vegetation, even around the city.

According to the specialist Luis Fernando Díaz Gamboa, general director of the Network for the Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles of Yucatán (RCARY), one of its main characteristics is that it has a helmet on the back of the skull and has edges serrated or serrated on it.

“Its characteristics make it look like a prehistoric animal although it is not, but for many it looks like a small dinosaur,” he said.

Photo: (Tim Colston)

Luis Fernando said that precisely this peculiar characteristic that draws attention among girls and boys puts him at some kind of risk since they tend to capture them and take them home as pets and these animals must not be taken away from their natural habitat.

They can be commonly seen in trees and are also distinguished by having long limbs that allow them to climb and stand near plants in bodies of water.

This reptile feeds on insects and for example, some can be so active at night, that they can consume more than 50 individuals, therefore, the species contributes to being pest controllers.

Toloques are also known to move their necks peculiarly as if they made a kind of affirmation or denial mimicry like humans, but in their case, they do it at the moment of possibly seeing a prey or feeling in a state of alert.

It is itself a medium-sized lizard with an extremely long tail, approximately 3.5 times the length of the body.

Its arms and legs are long and slender, and it also has a series of elongated conical spines that line the posterior margin of the hoof. 

These lizards are usually green, but can quickly change from green to brown. 

The specialist declared through a technical sheet that in the green phase, the background is light green, with four or even five dark brown bands. On the other hand, in the brown phase, the light green returns to a light or medium tan.

Many specimens have a cream or white spot immediately after insertion of the arms. 

Photo: (Annie Almeyda)

Reproduction

This specimen is oviparous, and lays three to seven eggs. Their reproductive season begins in spring or early summer.

The female digs a small hole at the foot of a tree where she lays the eggs, covering them later. 

The hatching of the juvenile specimens is at the end of the summer.
 

Special protection

Currently, this species is subject to special protection, at least in the category of least concern, in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is subject to special protection in the Official Mexican Standard (NOM) -059.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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