We hope that each of you, our readers, will enjoy and appreciate this article we present about these 3 Incredibly Intriguing Iguanas. It was certainly our great pleasure to compile the information for you. May it provide you with both education and increased awareness.
These few species listed herein represent only a portion of the natural wonders found throughout the region, though. Yet, it’s our belief that they serve as excellent representations of the wonders found here. Check out some of our other articles for similar marvels.
Lau Banded Iguana
Lau Banded Iguana Facts
- Leading off this article about these 3 Incredibly Intriguing Iguanas we present the remarkable product of evolution known as the Lau Banded Iguana.
- The descriptive term applied to it serves as the common name for an interesting species of reptile. For the moment, this remarkable product of evolution has no other generally accepted name. It’s also often confused with similar local species.
- The majority of professionals, however, such as researchers, typically refer to it by its formal name. Like most such monikers, though, it’s hard for the layman to pronounce. That’s because the animal bears the technical name of Brachylophus fasciatus.
- The creature received that official name due to the efforts of the noted French zoologist, Alexandre Brongniart. He accomplished the first acknowledgement of it as a separate and distinct species. This scientifically noteworthy event occurred in 1800.
- Unfortunately, however, this creation of Nature appears to be steadily dwindling in numbers in the wild. Its current zone of habitation measures much smaller than in the past. It’s also present in a neighboring region, though only as an introduced species.
- Due to a combination of factors, the IUCN currently lists the Lau Banded Iguana as Endangered. That status appears on the organization’s published Red List of Threatened Species. The near future could see its status worsen even further, though.
- The reptile faces several threats to its existence. Its most immediate threats include habitat loss due to human activities, such as agricultural practices, as well as danger from introduced species. Long term, however, its greatest threat, is climate change.
Lau Banded Iguana Physical Description
The beautiful Lau Banded Iguana easily captivates those fortunate enough to encounter it in the wild. It also does so for various reasons. Sheer physical size, however, isn’t among them. That’s true since the animal ranks as approximately average-sized among its kindred.
Like many of those related species, it also displays a moderate degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism. In its specific case, however, this trait manifests itself in terms of appearance, instead of size. Adults of both sexes thus attain roughly the same physical size.
That includes an average length, including body and tail, of 24 in (60 cm). Its weight further averages about 0.44 lb (0.2 kg). Each also has a comparatively small crest running down the back of its head and spine. This specific feature, however, only averages 0.2 in (0.5 cm).
It’s in terms of appearance, though, that the genders of the reptile differ. That’s because males display several pale white bands that cross their background colors. These markings average roughly 0.8 in (2 cm) in width. Each of the males shows either 2 or 3 of these.
Otherwise, the appearance of both genders of the Lau Banded Iguana remains the same. That principally consists of an emerald green background shade. Small, off-white spots or streaks also develop on the neck. Males, though, typically display more of each marking.
Among females, these spots additionally tend to develop in fewer numbers. The underside of both males and females, however, presents the same color scheme. That consists of a light yellow. All individuals also have the ability to modify their color at will, for camouflage.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Iguanidae
- Genus: Brachylophus
- Species: B. fasciatus
Lau Banded Iguana Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Regrettably, the amazing Lau Banded Iguana possesses a highly restricted zone of habitation. Evidence does indicate, however, that the iguana once existed across a somewhat greater range. Even at the time of its greatest dispersal, though, it never lived across a vast range.
That’s due to the fact that it previously inhabited a full group of islands, the Lau Islands. These in turn lie within the greater group forming the island country of Fiji. Now, however, its population seems to be restricted to only eleven islands within the smaller group.
Even inside of that limited range, though, it evolved to prefer a specific type of environment. Due to that preference, it most frequently appears in regions of wet forest. Smaller concentrations do also make their home in forests with slightly lower moisture levels.
For reasons still not completely understood, the animal also displays a marked preference for certain altitudes. On all islands it lives on within its territory, the vast majority of individuals live at alttitudes ranging from 656 – 1,640 ft ( 200 – 500 m) above sea level.
It also requires the presence of numerous trees, thus its favoring forested regions. There, it lives as a primarily arboreal species. It also evolved as diurnal in nature. At night, individuals retreat to the shelter of the trees. This provides a measure of protection from predators.
By day, the Lau Banded Iguana descends to the forest floor. There it forages throughout its range, as a herbivore. The reptile feeds on a variety of local plants, typically consisting of the flowers, fruit, and leaves. It’s especially fond of papayas, bananas, and hibiscus flowers.
Marine Iguana Facts
- The next species appearing in this listing of 3 Incredibly Intriguing Iguanas is the most unique of them all, the aptly-named Marine Iguana.
- The descriptive term we’ve used here serves as the most frequently used common name for this true marvel of evolution. It does go by other unofficial titles, though. These include the terms sea iguana, saltwater iguana, and Galapagos marine iguana.
- Among scientific professionals, however, it’s more typically referred to by its formal name. That, though, is a hard to pronounce term for the layman. That’s because it bears the tongue-twisting technical moniker of the Amblyrhynchus cristatus.
- The animal received that difficult name due to the efforts of the respected English zoologist, Thomas Bell. He recorded the first official recognition of the reptile as a separate and distinct species. He accomplished this noteworthy evernt in 1825.
- Regardless of which term one chooses to use when speaking of it, the animal remains exceptional. This holds true due to a unique quirk of evolution. To our current knowledge, it’s the only lizard in the world able to live and forage in the ocean.
- Sadly, the amazing Marine Iguana has a relatively small population base. It also inhabits an extremely limited range. The IUCN therefore presently lists the intriguing product of Nature as Vulnerable on its published Red List of Threatened Species.
- Due to its precise situation, the animal understandably faces multiple threats to its continued existence. Its own limited range, as well as the presence of introduced predators place it in peril. Its greatest threat, however, likely consists of climate change.
Marine Iguana Physical Description
The fabulous Marine Iguana evolved a form that almost instantly amazes those who encounter the animal. Unlike some reptiles, however, it does so due to a combination of several factors. These include overall general appearance, as well as sheer physical size.
The impressive creature does follow one pattern common to most reptiles, though. That’s in the fact that it displays a marked degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism. In the case of this particular reptile, that trait manfests itself in terms of length and weight.
Males of the species attain a maximum known length of roughly 4.3 ft (1.3 m). Interestingly, this varies significantly between populations in different parts of its range. The same holds true for its weight. For the males, though, this reaches approximately 26 lb (11.8 kg).
Their female counterparts attain much smaller measurements, though. In terms of length, this equals an average of only 2.0 ft (0.6 m). A maximum weight for females is only about half that of the males. But, most specimens of both genders average less in both categories.
Otherwise, males and females remain virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye, except for one thing. Adult males of this animal vary in color with the seasons. That’s because their color patterns brighten during breeding season, to attract potential mates.
Outside of that seasonal deviation by the males, the Marine Iguana presents a fairly uniform outward appearance in coloring. This consists of various shades of gray or black across the body. That body also develops as relatively thickset, with sturdy, powerful limbs.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Varanidae
- Genus: Varanus
- Species: V. komodoensis
Marine Iguana Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Regrettably, the extraordinary Marine Iguana evolved as native to an extremely small zone of habitation. It’s unknown if the animal ever appeared beyond its present range. That same region also holds an abundance of other natural wonders, both flora and fauna.
That’s all true given the fact that the well-adapted reptile dwells only on the beautiful Galapagos Islands. These also qualify as a marvel of Nature. While not physically connected, of course, these sites form part of the country of Ecuador, in South America.
In terms of habitat, this animal completely distinguishes itself from every other known reptile on the planet. That distinction holds true due to a startling fact. Unlike all its identified kin, this reptile evolved to be just as at home in the ocean as it is on the land!
The astoundingly adapted species spends a great deal of its time swimming in the surrounding ocean. There, it has the ability to remain underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time. Typically, though, individuals limit this to no more than a few minutes at a time.
The Marine Iguana evolved a diet every bit as unique as itself. The animal feeds as a herbivore. Its flattened snout allows it to scrape the various algae forming the bulk of its diet from rocks in the surrounding waters. Small insects and crustaceans complete this.
Breeding typically occurs near the end of the dry season. Males usually assemble herds of females, and aggressively guard them from other males. Individuals sometimes live as long as 60 years, but the lifespan only averages around 12 years. A clutch averages 1 – 6 eggs.
Anegada Ground Iguana
Anegada ground iguana Facts
- Closing out this compendium of 3 Incredibly Intriguing Iguanas comes the remarkable animal best known as the Anegada ground iguana.
- Although attention-grabbing, thhis particular term serves as only one of the common names for this remarkable reptile. It’s also known by the alternate term of stout iguana. For the moment, no other alternate common names for the fascinating lizard.
- The official scientific name for the creature, meanwhile, remains that of the Cyclura pinguis. It also represents one of only nine recognized members of this impressive genus. Several subspecies do exist, however, all of which live in the same general region.
- Perhaps even more impressively, the first recognition of it as a distinct species did not occur until modern times. More precisely, this occurred in 1917. The American herpetologist Thomas Barbour made the first recorded description of it at that time.
- Most unfortunately, the known population of the Anegada ground iguana numbers only around 300 individuals. That number represents a decrease of roughly 80% in the last 40 years. The IUCN, therefore, now lists the reptile as Critically Endangered.
- Conservation efforts remain underway. These include such tactics as relocating a small group of 8 individuals to another location, in the 1980’s. For the moment, that colony appears to be increasing in number, albeit slowly, with a total of 20 adults known.
- The principal cause of its decline in its native area in modern times consists of competitive grazing by livestock. Given its numbers, however, it must also be considered to be threatened by other factors, such as the danger of climate change.
Anegada ground iguana Physical Description
While it’s impressive in many ways, the Anegada ground iguana does not stand out in terms of physical size. That’s due to the simple fact that, in that respect, at least, it qualifies as roughly average-sized. It nonetheless merits its own quantities of respect and appreciation.
It also displays a moderate degree of the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In this regard, it follows the pattern of all other known members of its genus. In its specific case, though, this trait manifests itself in terms of its overall physical appearance.
This characteristic further does so in not just one, but several separate ways. The first, and perhaps most easily noticeable, is that of sheer size. More specifically, males of this fabulous species generally develop as slightly larger in size than their female counterparts.
Males attain an average body length of about 22 in (56 cm). Though the females remain shorter, the difference isn’t extreme. The tail, like many related species, develops relatively long. In point of fact, this appendage averages nearly as long as the body itself.
Adults typically display a farily uniform brownish-black or grayish color. Varying degrees of turquoise also appear on the tail base, dorsal spine, and legs. Females, though, generally manifest somewhat more subdoed color patterns, with less of the turquoise color.
The genders of the Anegada ground iguana also differ in appearance in yet more ways. Among these is the fact that males have more prominent dorsal crests. The males also possess special pores on the thighs, which they use to release special pheremones.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Iguanidae
- Genus: Cyclyra
- Species: C. pinguis
Anegada ground iguana Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Unfortunately, the Anegada ground iguana evolved as native to a highly isoloated and remote portion of the globe. More precisely, it lives in a region that lies about 80 mi (130 km) northeast of Puerto Rico. In fact, its home forms part of the British Virgin Islands.
Historically, this marvel of Nature lived on a total of 4 islands in the chain. Those consisted of Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, Guana, and Anegada. Now, though, the reptile only appears naturally on the island of Anegada. The small man-made colony now inhabits Guana.
The natural habitat of this lizard itself qualifies as unusual in its region. That’s because, unlike the majority of islands in the area, it’s not volcanic in origin. In fact, it’s actually formed of a combination of limestone and coral! This creates a very specific type of habitat.
Numerous natural tunnels and caves appear throughtout the entirety of the island. Typically, individuals live in the same area for life. Most, therefore, mate with others of the species living in the same immediate area. The majority also appear to mate for life.
The natural diet of the Anegada ground iguana is mainly herbivorous. Its natural diet typically includes such things as flowers, fruits, and leaves from local plants. Sadly, though, the presence of large numbers of livestock now present has altered that diet.
Individuals have been forced to consume those plants the livestock avoids. Most have now become oportunistic carnivores. This new diet, now omnivorous, largely includes millipedes, roaches, centipedes, various insects, and other small invertebrates.
This artificially imposed dietary shift has had a negative impact on its reproduction. Most females now lack sufficient nutrients to produce eggs and survive. In fact, many perish shortly after laying their eggs. Due to this, males now outnumber females 2 to 1.
3 Incredibly Intriguing Iguanas
We hope that each of you completely enjoyed reading, and hopefully learning from, this article we’ve written about these 3 Incredibly Intriguing Iguanas. It’s also our hope that doing so has left you with either a new or renewed appreciation for such wonders of Nature.
Unfortunately, however, many of their kindred around the world now find themselves facing strong threats to their continued existence as a species. Many of those dangers, in fact, stem from the actions of mankind. We must do all we can to protect and preserve them all.