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An overview of the iris image segmentation methodologies for biometric purposes is presented. The main focus is on the analysis of the ability of segmentation algorithms to process images with heterogeneous characteristics, simulating the dynamics of a non-cooperative environment. The accuracy of the four selected methodologies on the UBIRIS database is tested and, having concluded about their weak robustness when dealing with non-optimal images regarding focus, reflections, brightness or eyelid obstruction, the authors introduce a new and more robust iris image segmentation methodology. This new methodology could contribute to the aim of non-cooperative biometric iris recognition, where the ability to process this type of image is required.