iguana eyes

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What is the significance of the phrase "eyes like or of an iguana" or "iguana eyes"? I have heard and read it within the Dominican culture. What are the characteristics of iguana eyes? Is this a compliment or insult'

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updated ENE 26, 2009
posted by camila

3 Answers

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I would have thought the phrase had to do with color or shape but both of these explanations make more sense. Thank you.

updated ENE 26, 2009
posted by camila
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Maybe the ability to see in front and behind themselves simultaneously, or the inability to see well in front of themselves or perceive depth.

*Because iguanas are potential prey for a wide variety of predators, they need to be constantly on the lookout for approaching trouble. To help them do this, an iguana's eyes are set far to the side of his head. This gives a very wide field of vision, greater than 180 degrees, allowing them to see to the front, to the side, and slightly to the rear.

The disadvantage to this arrangement, however, is that the field of vision of both eyes does not overlap very much at the front. In humans, our binocular fields of vision overlap extensively, which allows us to accurately judge distances (as a trade-off, though, humans do not have very good peripheral vision). In iguanas, the overlap is only slight, making it difficult for an iguana to look at something with both eyes at the same time.

Because of this, iguanas are not able to judge distances very well--a potential hazard to an animal that continually jumps from one high tree branch to another. While I was in Nicaragua, I would often see or hear an iguana come crashing down through the underbrush after misjudging a jump and falling out of his tree. Fortunately, iguanas are built to withstand a lot of punishment, and all of the fallen iguanas would, after a moment or two to clear their head, go scampering off unharmed, to head for the nearest tree trunk.*

updated ENE 26, 2009
posted by The-Steve
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I have no idea. I can only assume that this is similar to an English phrase, "eyes like a hawk". Hopefully James will come along and provide all the necessary details, mind you, he is from America, so over there it might be "eyes like a japanese interpreter". James, where are you, hehe.

updated ENE 26, 2009
posted by Eddy