Jul 17

With the recent release of The Green Lantern, it seemed apt to write a blog about the biggest colour scheme in nature: all things green. So without further ado, here’s ARKive’s Top Ten green species.   

Green peafowl

Adult green peafowl photo

Adult green peafowl


The green peafowl, often referred to the male’s name of peacock, is famous for the glorious train carried by the male. This metre-long accessory is a beautiful example of an extravagant male ornament. For more information on male ornaments and sexual selection see our “Sexual selection – The Dating Game” teaching resource.   

Green iguana

Green iguana portrait, showing tongue

Green iguana portrait


The green iguana is possibly one of the most famous reptiles. Despite it’s qualifying common name, individuals vary in colour with some from the northern part of its range being orange. These are no gentle giants as they are territorial and will fight to protect territories during their breeding season.   

Pale-throated three-toed sloth 

Pale-throated three-toed sloth feeding

Pale-throated three-toed sloth feeding


Mammals are somewhat lacking from this list. We can include sloths, such as this pale-throated three-toed sloth, as they have camouflaging algae in their fur. This means that this sluggish species is often mistaken for a bundle of leaves in the canopy!   



Photo of kakapo walking

Kakapo walking


The endearing kakapo is famed for being the only flightless parrot in the world, the largest parrot and possibly also the longest lived. Found on New Zealand, this parrot is a classic example of isolated island evolution and is now threatened by introduced predators.   

Sea lettuce

Sea lettuce photo

Sea lettuce underwater


The sea lettuce is a common green seaweed. The culinary name is due to its crumpled appearance resembling a lettuce leaf. In fact it’s even eaten in some parts of the world. Tasty.   

Gliding treefrog  

Photo of a gliding treefrog leaping from leaf

Gliding treefrog leaping from leaf


Kermit the frog once sang “it’s not easy being green”. He’s not alone – it’s hard to narrow down the green amphibian species. Their colouration is produced by layers of pigment cells in their skin. I’ve chosen the gliding treefrog – it can make incredible parachuting leaps to move large distances. Check out this video showing this rather impressive form of locomotion. 

Fabulous green sphinx moth   


Fabulous green sphinx moth

Fabulous green sphinx moth


The fabulous green sphinx moth was thought extinct until 1998. With an incredibly restricted range on Kaua’i, Hawaii, it may be a surprise to learn that this little critter is so hard to find that in 110 years of searching it has only been recorded 15 times. Either this species evades capture exceptionally well or it is exceptionally rare.   

Green tiger beetle

Green tiger beetle photo

Green tiger beetle


Fast and agile predators, the green tiger beetle adults are a striking irridescent green with characteristic yellow spots. If ever there was evidence beetles could be beautiful.   

Green turtle


Green turtle photo 

One of the most famous see turtle species, at first glance the green turtle doesn’t appear to live up to its common name. It’s the green colour of the fat and connective tissues of this species that qualify the green turtle for our list.

Belalanda chameleon

Belalanda chameleon photo

Belalanda chameleon


Famed for their bright, vibrant and sometimes adaptable colours, the chameleons come top of our green list with the Belalanda chameleon

Do you have any other favourite green species? If so us know in the comments below. 

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

  • Dmitri (July 17th, 2011 at 4:46 pm):

    Possibly the green finch of Europe and the parakeets, especially the wild ones of Australia. Oh, and the green anoles, of course.

  • Sandy Ward (July 19th, 2011 at 12:55 pm):

    You just have to love all our green creatures. Their ability to blend in yet shine is amazing!

  • Moisés (July 19th, 2011 at 5:47 pm):

    i like green XD