PHOTO IN THE NEWS: New Iguana Found in Fiji

new iguana photo
Email to a Friend


September 22, 2008—Say hello to Brachylophus bulabula, a new species of iguana named after a Fijian greeting—bula.

The yellow-nosed reptile, discovered in the central Fiji Islands, is the third living iguana species discovered in the Central Pacific Basin.

Based on previous data, scientists knew that iguanas in the region possessed genetic differences.

But it wasn't until almost two years ago that Robert Fisher, a research zoologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in San Diego, started studying preserved museum specimens. He found physical differences between B. bulabula and the other two iguana species.

B. bulabula has a distinct bright nose and a U-shaped band around its neck, Fisher said. The other two species either have a V-shaped band or spots around their necks.

And unlike its dry forest-dwelling relatives, B. bulabula rummages through wet forests.

"There are a lot of islands where we haven't looked for iguanas yet, so there could be that there's even more species of iguanas on Fiji once we get to these other remote islands," Fisher said.

The study appeared in a recent special edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

—Sara Goudarzi

NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




ADVERTISEMENT

 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.