Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas No Longer Listed As Critically Endangered (Video)
Great new for the Blue iguanas on Grand Cayman island! They are no longer considered a critically endangered species. But that was not the case just a decade ago, when there were just 10 to 25 blue iguanas living in the wild and they were listed as critically endangered. But now that the wild population has risen to 750, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has downlisted the species from critically endangered to just endangered.
It's a huge victory for a breeding program that rears and releases blue iguanas on Grand Cayman which is the only place in the world where the turquoise-colored reptiles live in the wild. In a Friday statement, Fred Burton the director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Program said, "The program is confident that it can achieve its long-term goal of restoring 1,000 blue iguanas to Grand Cayman's shrublands." Long live the Blue iguanas!
Facts about the Blue iguana~
he Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) is endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Its generic name (Cyclura) is derived from the Ancient Greek words cyclos (κύκλος) meaning "circular" and ourá (οὐρά) meaning "tail", after the thick-ringed tail characteristic of all Cyclura. Its specific name is a Latinized form of the name of the scientist who first described this species, Bernard C. Lewis. Its closest relatives are the Cuban Iguana (Cyclura nubila) and the Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana (Cyclura cychlura), the three species having diverged from a common ancestor some three million years ago.
The species has a low genetic diversity but does not seem to suffer the same lack of vitality that afflicts other such species of rock iguana. One theory is that the species evolved from a single female Cuban Iguana (C. nubila nubila) with eggs inside her who drifted across the sea, perhaps during a storm. It is distinct from the subspecies found on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac known as C. nubila caymanensis, although it can breed with this subspecies and produce fertile offspring. The Blue Iguana is one of the longest-living species of lizard (possibly up to 69 years). The record is 67 years.
The Blue Iguana is the largest native land animal on Grand Cayman with a total nose-to-tail length of 5 ft (1.5 m) and weighing as much as 30 lb (14 kg). It may be the heaviest species of iguana and most massive lizard in the Western Hemisphere. Its body length is 20–30 inches (51–76 cm) with a tail equal in length. The Blue Iguana's toes are articulated to be efficient in digging and climbing trees. Although not known to be arboreal, the Blue Iguana has been observed climbing trees 15 feet (4.6 m) and higher. The male is larger than the female by one third of his body size. The mature male's skin color ranges from dark grey to turquoise blue, whereas the female is more olive green to pale blue. Young animals tend to be uniformly dark brown or green with faint darker banding. When they first emerge from the nest the neonates have an intricate pattern of eight dark dorsal chevrons from the crest of their necks to their pelvic area. These markings fade by the time the animal is one year old, changing to mottled gray and cream and eventually giving way to blue as adults.
The adult Blue Iguana is typically dark gray matching the karst rock of its landscape. The animal changes its color to blue when it is in the presence of other iguanas to signal and establish territory. The blue color is more pronounced in males of the species. Their distinctive black feet stand in contrast to their lighter overall body color. Male Blue Iguanas have prominent femoral pores, which are used to release pheromones. Females have smaller pores and have a less prominent dorsal crest, making the animal somewhat sexually dimorphic.
Source ~ Wikipedia
VIDEO Blue Iguana Recovery Program HD