The common basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) is a lizard found in Central and South American rainforests near rivers and streams. The basilisk is part of the corytophanid family. It is also known as the Jesus lizard, Jesus Christ lizard, or lagarto de Jesus Cristo for its ability to run on the surface of water.
The common basilisk can be distinguished from similar species within its range by its large size and the high fin-like crests down its back. Males also have high crests on their heads and tails. Both sexes are brown to olive, and have a white, cream or yellow stripe on the upper lip and a second stripe along either side of their bodies; these stripes have higher contrast in juveniles and fade as the lizards age. Hatchlings weigh a mere 2 g and are 37 to 43 mm long. Adults can grow up to two and a half feet long. Females are generally 135 to 194 g, and weigh half as much as males. The tails of these lizards comprise 70 to 75% of their total length: for example, on an 800-mm-long (31.5-in-long) lizard, 600 mm of its length is tail.
The common basilisk has a large mouth with saw-like teeth on the inner sides of the jaw. They have been known to run up to 7 mph (11 km/h). While the basilisk is most known for its ability to run on water, it is also an excellent climber and swimmer; the basilisk has been known to stay under water for up to half an hour. The average lifespan is seven years in captivity; in the wild, it tends to be less because of predators.
This basilisk is an omnivore; its diet consists of insects, flowers, and small vertebrates such as snakes, birds, eggs, and fish.