Basiliscus is a genus of large corytophanid lizards, commonly known as basilisks, which are endemic to southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. They are widely known as the Jesus Christ lizard, or simply the Jesus lizard, due to their ability to run across water for significant distances before sinking.
The basilisk has blue spots and a yellow iris, on average measures 70 to 75 mm (2.8 to 3.0 in), and weighs about 80 grams (2.8 ounces). Its growth is perpetual, fast when they are young and nonlinear for mature basilisks. Its long crest-like sails, reinforced in three distinct points (head, back, and tail), confer the impression of creatures such as Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus. Its skin is shed in pieces.
The basilisk sometimes runs as a biped. Basilisks have the unique ability to "run" on water and, because of this, they have been dubbed as "The Jesus Christ lizard" in reference to the biblical passage of Matthew 14:22-34. On water, the basilisk can run at a velocity of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) per second for approximately 4.5 meters (15 feet) before sinking on all fours and swimming. Flaps between their toes help support the basilisk, creating a larger surface and pockets of air, giving them the lift needed to run across water. They can also sustain themselves on all fours while "water-walking" to increase the distance travelled above the surface by about 1.3 meters (4.3 feet).