From: USGS
Published June 9, 2017 08:12 AM

Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

The new species of lizard, Brachylophus gau, is one of only four living species of South Pacific iguana, and is restricted to the island of Gau, Republic of Fiji. The scientists describe this new addition in an article released with the journal Zootaxa.

The first known recording of iguanas on Gau Island dates back to an expedition in the mid-19th century. In 1854, the survey ship HMS Herald carried Scottish naturalist John MacGillivray to the Fiji islands, where he chronicled his encounters with native wildlife in his journal.

Authors of the article in Zootaxa compared copies of MacGillivray’s journal entries with their own observations. They collected live iguanas, preserved specimens, and compared photographic evidence with specimens at the University of the South Pacific Herpetology Collection, Suva, Fiji and the British Museum of Natural History, London.

 

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