Distribution: Bahamas (Andros I, Exuma Cays) Cyclura cychlura cychlura: Bahama Is.: Andros I.
Type locality: "Caroline"; restricted by Schwartz and Carey, 1977, to Andros Island, Bahama Islands. Cyclura cychlura figginsi (HOLOTYPE MCZ 17745): Bahama Is.: central and southern Exuma Cays. Cyclura cychlura inornata (HOLOTYPE MCZ 11062): northern Exuma Cays.
Habitat and Ecology
Cyclura cyclura is a herbivorous, ground dwelling, saxicolous species using limestone crevices, or burrows constructed in sandy loam, as retreats. Juveniles and subadults often climb trees and shrubs in the morning to feed and bask. Hollows in dead trees often are used as retreats for juveniles. The islands are low-relief (< 20 m above sea level) karst limestone platforms.
Average generation length is around 20 years.
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- Needs updating
The three subspecies within Cyclura cychlura are also included on the IUCN Red List: C. c. cychlura (Endangered); C. c. figginsi (Endangered); and C. c. inornata (Endangered).
- 1996Vulnerable (VU)
- 1994Rare (R)
- 1990Rare (R)
- 1988Rare (R)
- 1986Rare (R)
The species inhabits two distinctly different island areas in the Bahamas. The Andros population is threatened based on the acceleration of perturbations, such as habitat loss, feral animals, and subsistence hunting. Although the island is large and some undisturbed subpopulations exist, it is only a matter of time before humans or feral animals degrade the populations. A suggestive north/south trend in population decline is noted and procedures must be implemented to stop further degradation of populations and habitat. The Exuma Island populations inhabit an area that is becoming increasingly popular with tourists- both as a sailing destination and region to buy islands. Increased human traffic brings potential and distinct deleterious consequences to the local flora and fauna. In 2004, a large-scale fire was reported on an iguana-inhabited island that has recently become a designated tourist destination. The fire is purportedly the result of a tourist cigarette. Also, in recent years there has been an increase in feral animals and wildlife smuggling throughout the islands. Continued population monitoring must be a priority along with recognizing that the fragmented population faces a precarious future.
A new protected area on North Andros was declared in 2003. However, this is in an area of low iguana occurrence and is only protected on paper. There are no protection measures on the ground. In the Exuma Islands, protected areas include Pasture and Alligator Cays, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
Captive populations exist in Ardastra Gardens, Nassau, The Bahamas; and Los Angeles Zoo.
Recommended actions include further surveys, genetic research, life history studies, investigation into the effects of current trade on the population, and a public education programme. A species management programme is recommended for The Bahamas.
Northern Bahamian rock iguana
The northern Bahamian rock iguana (Cyclura cychlura) is a species of lizard of the genus Cyclura that is found on the Andros and Exuma islands in the Bahamas. Its status on the IUCN Red List is Vulnerable, with a wild population of less than 5,000 animals.
The northern Bahamian rock iguana's generic name Cyclura and specific name Cychlura are derived from the Ancient Greek cyclos (κύκλος) meaning "circular" and ourá (οὐρά) meaning "tail", after the thick-ringed tail characteristic of all cyclurids. Its closest relatives are Cyclura nubila on Cuba, and Cyclura lewisi on Grand Cayman. All three apparently diverged from a common ancestor some 3 million years ago.
There are three subspecies of the northern Bahamian rock iguana: the Andros Island iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura), Allen's Cay iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata), and the Exuma Island iguana (Cyclura cychlura figginsi). Biologist Catherine Malone describes C. c. cychlura as being phylogenetically different from C. c. figginisi and C. c. inornata but does not recognize them as separate species; the three are listed as subspecies until further study has been completed.
Anatomy and morphology
This species, like other species of Cyclura, is sexually dimorphic; males are larger than females, and have more prominent dorsal crests and "horns" in addition to more prominent femoral pores on their thighs, which are used to release pheromones.
Like all Cyclura species, the northern Bahamian rock iguana is primarily herbivorous, consuming leaves, flowers and fruits from over 100 different plant species. This diet is very rarely supplemented with insect larvae, crabs, slugs, dead birds and fungi.
Causes of decline
Hunting is the main factor threatening imminent extinction for this iguana. It is the only Caribbean species of iguana which is still regularly hunted for food for human consumption. Feral pigs pose a threat to the iguanas, as they dig up eggs from iguana nests within termite mounds. Feral and domestic dogs prey upon juvenile and adult iguanas as well. Feral goats have also been known to compete with the iguanas for food.
As with other rock iguanas, their habitat is in rapid decline due to development and logging.
- Knapp, C.R., Iverson, J.B. & Buckner, S. (2004). Cyclura cychlura. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on September 8, 2007.
- Sanchez, Alejandro. "Family Iguanidae: Iguanas and Their Kin". Father Sanchez's Web Site of West Indian Natural History Diapsids I: Introduction; Lizards. Kingsnake.com. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
- Kenyon, Georgina (September 17, 2005). "Re-enter the Dragon". New Scientist (Simone Coless) (2517): 42–43.
- Hollingsworth, Bradford D. (2004). "The Evolution of Iguanas: An Overview of Relationships and a Checklist of Species". Iguanas: Biology and Conservation (University of California Press): 36–37. ISBN 978-0-520-23854-1.
- Malone,C.L.; Wheeler,T.; Taylor,J.F. & Davis,S.K (2000). Phylogeography of the Caribbean Rock Iguana (Cyclura): implications for conservation and insights on the biogeographic history of the West Indies. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 17 ((2)). p. 269.
- De Vosjoli, Phillipe; David Blair (1992). The Green Iguana Manual. Escondido, California: Advanced Vivarium Systems. ISBN 1-882770-18-8.
- Martins, Emilia P.; Lacy, Kathryn (2004). "Behavior and Ecology of Rock Iguanas,I: Evidence for an Appeasement Display". Iguanas: Biology and Conservation (University of California Press): 98–108. ISBN 978-0-520-23854-1.
- Morgan, Curtis (July 7, 2002). "In Bahamas Some Indulge Taste For Dwindling Iguana". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2007-10-14.[dead link]
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