Reptile import-export and breeding since 1993

BION Events Costa Rican rainbow stripe (Diploglossus monotropis)

Costa Rican rainbow stripe (Diploglossus monotropis)

Costa Rican rainbow stripe (Diploglossus monotropis) is a genus of New World diploglossid lizards, with 19 described species, commonly known as galliwasps. They are diurnal and terrestrial lizards.

Distribution: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador.

Costa Rican rainbow stripe (Diploglossus monotropis) (KUHL, 1820) occurs in regions of rainforests and monsoon rainforests. This species is not common and hard to find in nature because of their lifestyle.

Source: In January 2016, the breeding group of Costa Rican rainbow stripe (Diploglossus monotropis) in BION included 3 adult males and 4 females. The group was imported from Panama in December 2013.

Current distribution of Diploglossus monotropis in Colombia, showing previously known (circles) and new (triangles) records. The color marks indicate  the  biogeographic  provinces  sensu  Morrone  (2014):  blue  (Magdalena),  green  (Cauca),  orange  (Western  Ecuador),  red  (Guajira),  and  violet  (Chocó-Darién).

(PDF) New records of Diploglossus monotropis (Kuhl, 1820) (Squamata: Anguidae) from Urabá and Magdalena River Valley, Colombia, with an updated geographic distribution map.

Keeping conditions:

Cage: we use glass terrariums of 70x50x50 cm for keeping one adult animal or a pair. , We keep them separately due to their very aggressive character and keep pairs together only during the breeding season.

Substrate: dried leaves, fine bark, sphagnum moss, coconut copra or chips in one mixture. The substrate level should be not less than 10-12 cm for comfortable digging and security of these lizards. According to our observations, they are active only early in the morning and at the dusk.

Equipment: a large water bowl is provided as these lizards like to stay in the water. A few shelters inside the enclosure are provided. We use pieces of bark and bamboo tubes. During the breeding season, we use moist chambers (boxes with damp moss) as female’s cages.

Illumination: full spectrum lamps are provided. 8 hours of artificial lighting from August till April and up to 14 hours of lighting from April till August.

Temperature and heating: we don’t use additional heating and keep the daytime temperature at 26-28ºC and 22-24ºC at night.

Humidity: we keep the humidity of 50-60% at the enclosure and of 70-80 % in the soil. We provide intensive spraying of the substrate on a regular basis.

Diet: feeding 2-3 times per week. We usually give crickets and locusts by 5-6 feeding objects for each adult animal. Also, we give one pink mouse (one week old) per each animal 1-2 times per month.

During molting (10-14 days), lizards do not eat at all.

Mineral supplements: we use Calcium with D3 and vitamin powder every second feeding (with insects).

Breeding: Animals become sexually mature presumably at the age of 2-4 years.

2014 year:

No hibernation at all. On 15.04.2014 we put 3 pairs together. The courtship began almost immediately; the mating lasted over 4.5 hours. The male kept the female behind the head (several copulations took place in each case). On 27.05.2014, we received a clutch of 5 unfertile eggs from one female. She laid the clutch under the water bowl. Pregnancy duration was 42 days.

2015 year:

Hibernation started on 10.11.2014 due to a gradual reduction of the temperature and day length. Food was offered. Since 20.11.2014, the illumination was switched off. Food wasn’t offered since this date. The temperature was 26ºC, the humidity was 70-80 %.

19.02.2015 – females were put together with males. Day length - 12 hours.

10.03.2015 – the mating of the group No.3.

25.04.2015 – the mating of the group  No.1. The male keeps the female behind the head for a long time (5-8 hours). Copulations last for 20-30 minutes. Between copulations (1-1.5 hours) the male doesn’t release the head of the female. 3-5 copulations happened this way.

We didn’t observe the mating of the groups  No.2 and  No.4.

26.05.2015 – we received a clutch (4 unfertile eggs) from a female of the group No.2. She laid it under the piece of bark in the soil (sphagnum moss and coconut copra).

20.06.2015 – we received a clutch (4 unfertile eggs) from a female of the group No. 4.

26.06.2015 – we received a clutch (3 unfertile eggs) from a female of the group No. 3.

17.07.2015 – we received a clutch (3 unfertile eggs) from a female of the group No. 1.

Breeding statistics:

2014 – we received one clutch from one female (5 unfertile eggs).

2015 – we received 4 clutches from 4 females (14 unfertile eggs in total).

Conclusion: For the moment, we are informed about only one positive result of Costa Rican rainbow stripe breeding in a zoo in the U.S.A and one in an outdoor enclosure in Costa Rica. All information concerning captive breeding of this species is appreciated.


Rickets (deformation and softening of bones) can be a problem in case of wrong care. To prevent this, the UV exposure should be increased (“hard” UV over 280 nm for 2 minutes every other day until improvement). Also, a dose of calcium should be increased (calcium gluconate in liquid should be offered orally by 2-3 drops from 2 ml syringe every other day until the situation improves.


Useful sources:


2 Myers, CW 1973. Anguid lizards of the genus Diploglossus in Panama, with the description of a new species. American Museum Novitates (2523): 1-20.

3 Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp.


5 Castro-Herrera, F. & Vargas-Salinas, F. 2008. Anfibios y reptiles en el departamento del Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Biota Colombiana 9 (2): 251 – 277.

6 Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.

7 Wendt, Alexander S. and Ryan L. Lynch. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Diploglossus monotropis (Galliwasp). Herpetological Review 47 (2): 257.

8 [accessed May 26 2020]. (Díaz-Ayala et al., 2015).