Jamaican Iguanas

Topics: Caribbean, Iguanidae, Iguana Pages: 6 (1487 words) Published: June 21, 2012
College of Agricultural Science and Education

170 P.O box Port Antonio

Portland, Jamaica W.I.


Name: Shevanese Fagon

Lecturer: Mr Richard Kelly

Date: May 10, 2012



Jamaican iguana overview 5 - 10
Taxonomy 6
Anatomy and morphology 6-7
Habitat AND ECOLOGY 7-8

Distribution 8

Diet 9

Population 10

Reproduction 11



Jamaican iguanas are the largest living land animal native to that Caribbean island. Adult males, the larger of the sexes, can reach nearly five feet in length. The iguanas range in color from an olive green to slate blue. A bluish-green dorsal crest runs from their heads and shoulders down their back.

As a group, iguanas are the New World's largest lizards. They range from the southwestern United States to the Caribbean and most of Central and South America, as well as some Pacific Ocean islands. Some dwell in trees in tropical forests where they feed on leaves, fruits, flowers, and buds. Others live in deserts. And one, the marine iguana of the Galapagos Islands, inhabits rocky seashores and eats algae and other vegetation growing on submerged rocks in coastal waters.

Once common, Jamaican iguanas are now confined to Hellshire Hills. Although no one knows for sure, they probably number no more than 150 in the wild. Their future is uncertain. Still, the fact that the Jamaican iguana has survived at all points to one of the Americas' most successful conservation stories. And the effort to save Jamaican iguanas also protects Hellshire Hills, one of the few dry tropical forests remaining in the Caribbean.

The Jamaican iguana is one of nine species of iguanas known as rock iguanas. Rock iguanas were once found throughout the Caribbean and West Indies, but they are now threatened with extinction almost everywhere they live. One, the Nayassa Island iguana, is gone. Burgeoning human population and development has destroyed much of their habitat and fragmented most of what remains. Goats, pigs, and sheep introduced to the area now compete with iguanas for food and trample their nest sites. Mongooses, cats, and dogs kill the lizards, and rats eat their eggs.

The Jamaican iguana was believed to be extinct by the 1940s. None had been seen on Jamaica itself for decades and even a small population on an offshore island had disappeared.

The first clue that Jamaican iguanas might still exist came when a dead animal was found in the 1970s. Nothing happened then, and no others were seen for years until local resident Edwin Duffus--who had been out with his dog illegally hunting feral pigs--captured a live iguana in Hellshire Hills in 1990.

The Jamaican iguana's rediscovery was pretty big news for the conservation community an Iguana Recovery Group was formed. It started a grassroots conservation effort in Jamaica and led to international efforts on behalf of the Jamaican iguana. This led to projects to study, monitor, and protect iguanas in the wild, to breed and head start them in zoos, and to release captive-raised iguanas back to the wild. It has also encouraged similar efforts for other rock iguanas throughout the Caribbean and West Indies.

This project gives a clear overview of the Jamaican iguana. This is inclusive its taxonomy, Anatomy and morphology, Habitat And Ecology, Distribution, Diet, Population and Reproduction

It also includes a Brief endangerment history inclusive of current threats. The paper would not be complete without the inclusions of conservation efforts and the challenges to effective conservation and...
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