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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Species Fact Profile: Fiji Banded Iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus)

Fiji Banded Iguana
Brachylophus fasciatus (Brongniart, 1800)

Range: Southeastern Fiji, (introduced to Vanuatu and Tonga)
Habitat: Rainforest, Cloud Forest, Wetlands
Diet: Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, Insects
Social Grouping:  Males are territorial
Reproduction: Breeding season in November.  Clutch of 3-6 eggs laid in a burrow, hatching after 7-9 months, during the rainy season.  Young independent at birth, though the female may guard the nest site.
Lifespan: 25 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Endangered, CITES Appendix I

  • Body length up to 80 centimeters, two-third of which is made up of tail.  Weigh up to 200 grams.  Size may vary by island
  • Emerald green scales.  Males have vertical blue or light green stripes on the body and the tail.  Females are solid green, sometimes with white or pale blue spotting.  Have some ability to change the color of their scales to match their background
  • Both sexes have short crests running down the spine.  The Latin name translates to "Banded with a Short Crest"
  • When threatened, change their color to a darker shade, near black, and lunge forward with their mouths gaping
  • With the two other Fijian iguanas (B. bulabula and B. vitiensis), they are believed to be the descendants of iguanas that rafted across the Pacific from the Americas thousands of years ago.  They are some of the only iguanas found outside of North and South America
  • Threatened by habitat loss, as well as predation of both adults and eggs by invasive mongooses and domestic cats.  Fully protected, subject to captive-breeding program
  • Historically has been smuggled heavily for the exotic pet trade; the entire population of Fijian iguanas in American zoos is descended from animals smuggled from Fiji
  • Considered a national treasure on Fiji, depicted on currency and postage stamps.  Regarded as the totem of some tribes, where the name of the animal may not be spoken aloud.  Other tribes are terrified of them

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