Lizard Endocrine System

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Reproductive hormone levels are influenced by photoperiod, temperature, and seasonal cycles.

Endocrine glands

  • By comparison to mammals the thyroids and parathyroids of lizards may have different morphology. The thyroids are involved in control of ecdysis but the parathyroids have a similar role to the parathyroids of mammals (control of plasma calcium and phosphorus levels). The thyroids vary with the species and may be single, bilobed or paired and the parathyroids are paired. Nutritional and renal secondary hyperparathyroidism are commonly diagnosed diseases in captive reptiles.
  • The adrenals are paired and located in the mesorchium or mesovarium and must be avoided during neutering.
  • The pancreas is usually attached to the duodenum and may be pale pink in colour. It contains alpha and beta cells that produce glucagon and insulin. The cells are not grouped into islets and diabetes appears to be relatively rare. It is both an endocrine and exocrine organ.

Endocrine disorders are poorly documented and probably underdiagnosed in reptiles.


  • Mader, D.R. (2005). Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Saunders. pp. 1264. ISBN 072169327X