New Fijian iguana species discovered


This video is called Fiji banded iguana.

From Australian National University:

New iguana species discovered

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A team of Australian and US researchers have discovered a new species of iguana in the central regions of Fiji, which makes three living Pacific iguana species including one that is critically endangered. The study suggests that the ancestors of the Pacific iguanas arrived up to 13 million years ago after an 8000 kilometer rafting trip from the New World.

Detailed genetic and morphological analyses show that there are three living kinds of Brachylophus iguanas, not two as indicated in current taxonomy. Scientists named the newly revealed iguana species Brachylophus bulabula. The scientific name bulabula is a doubling of bula, the Fijian word for ‘hello,’ thus signifying an even more enthusiastic greeting.

“The iconic Fijian iguanas are famous for their beauty and also their unusual occurrence in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because all of their closest relatives are in the Americas”, said Scott Keogh, an Associate Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and lead author of the study. …

The highest islands of Fiji have been above sea level for at least the last 16 million years, and the current study’s findings suggest that the Pacific iguanas, both extinct and living, were likely on the islands much of that time, following a long-distance rafting trip from the New World.

The Pacific iguanas have been adversely affected by human presence. Two species were eaten to extinction after people arrived nearly 3,000 years ago. The three living Brachylophus iguanas face threats from habitat loss and modification, and from feral cats, mongooses and goats.

The Fiji crested iguana, Brachylophus vitiensis, is now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. An important study finding regarding conservation of the genetic diversity in these iguanas is that, with only one exception, every island for which there were samples was represented by at least one distinct iguana lineage. The new discovery was published in a special themed edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, which pays tribute to Charles Darwin’s contribution to the Pacific region.

See also here. And here.

Banded mongooses: here.

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2 thoughts on “New Fijian iguana species discovered

  1. Pingback: Fiji replaces British queen with iguana | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Galapagos iguana thief sentenced | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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