Navigation Links
Scientists discover a new Pacific iguana
Date:9/18/2008

A new iguana has been discovered in the central regions of Fiji. The colorful new species, named Brachylophus bulabula, joins only two other living Pacific iguana species, one of which is critically endangered. The scientific name bulabula is a doubling of bula, the Fijian word for 'hello,' offering an even more enthusiastic greeting.

Pacific iguanas have almost disappeared as the result of human presence. Two species were eaten to extinction after people arrived nearly 3,000 years ago. The three living Brachylophus iguana species face threats from loss and alteration of their habitat, as well as from feral cats, mongooses and goats that eat iguanas or their food source.

"Our new understanding of the species diversity in this group is a first step in identifying conservation targets," said Robert Fisher, a research zoologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in San Diego, and coauthor of a study on the new iguana with scientists from the Australian National University and Macquarie University in Australia.

An important study finding for conservation of the genetic diversity in these iguanas is that, with only one exception, each of the 13 islands where living iguanas were sampled showed at least one distinct iguana genetic line that was not seen elsewhere.

The Fiji crested iguana, Brachylophus vitiensis, is gone from many islands it once occupied and is now listed as Critically Endangered on the "Red List" of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The IUCN is the largest global environmental network. "Unfortunately, this new study indicates that the other previously-identified Pacific iguana species, Brachyophus fasciatus, is probably critically endangered also," Fisher said.

The mystery of how the Pacific iguanas originally arrived has long puzzled biologists and geographers. Their closest relatives are found nearly 5,000 miles away across the ocean in the New World.

"The distinctive 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 continuously 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. Ancestors of the Pacific iguanas may have arrived up to 13 million years ago after making a 5,000 mile rafting trip from the New World.

Realizing that scientists are just now describing the diversity in even such colorful and distinctive groups as Pacific iguanas is important in setting biodiversity targets for the Pacific Basin.

"This island basin is currently under attack by a number of invasive species such as the brown tree snake, various rat species and the coqui frog, which tend to reduce biodiversity," said Fisher. "Climate change may reduce coastal habitats and alter coastlines in the Pacific, further putting biodiversity at risk. A more accurate understanding of the patterns and processes that impact diversity in these unique island groups will help land managers set appropriate goals for conservation of these resources."


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Fisher
rfisher@usgs.gov
619-206-5686
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/17/2016)... , Nov. 17, 2016 Global Market Watch: ... Public Biobanks (Disease-Based Banks, Population-Based Banks and Academics) market is ... analysis for Private Biobanks shows the highest Compounded Annual Growth ... region during the analysis period 2014-2020. ... CAGR of 9.95% followed by Europe ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... their offering. ... The global bioinformatics market ... 6.21 Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during ... is driven by the growing demand for nucleic acid and protein ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... -- The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was once ... one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest 50 ... Las Vegas . Winners ... each of the following categories: net square feet of paid ... The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... the FrontPanel SDK that provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, ... require FrontPanel support. The FOMD-ACV-A4 is a small, thin, SODIMM-style module that fits ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... KBioBox llc ... to client demand KbioBox developed a sophisticated “3 click” gene dditing off target ... from KBioBox’s new website, https://www.kbiobox.com/ and powered by the company’s ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016  Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX) (Soligenix ... on developing and commercializing products to treat rare ... announced today the long-term follow-up data from its ... first-in-class Innate Defense Regulator (IDR), in the treatment ... cancer patients undergoing chemoradiation therapy (CRT).  The additional ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Korea , Dec. 8, 2016 Eutilex ... $21 billion KRW (US $18.9M) Series A financing. This ... Investment, G.N. Tech Venture and SNU Bio Angel. This ... to 30.5 billion KRW (US $27.7M) since its founding ... Eutilex to bolster the development and commercialization of its ...
Breaking Biology Technology: