Fijian banded iguanaScientific Name Brachylophus fasciatus                          

Conservation Status Endangered

Appearance

Male and female green iguanas are sexually dimorphic with males being slightly larger than females. Both are coloured emerald green but males have two to three blue to light green stripes which run along the body and their tails also feature a number of these bands. Females may have some light spots or partial bands. Their underside and the nostrils are coloured yellow. The eyes are a red-orange colour. Their crest is just 0.5cm (0.2in) tall.

If they are threatened they can change to black making it clear to an attacker that they do not like them. They also can change colour to blend in with their background.

Their total length may be to up 80cm (31.5in) long with over half of this being the tail which is used for balance as they climb through the trees.

Lifespan                                                                                  

In the wild it is believed that this species lives for between 10 and 15 years while in captivity they can live for over 25 years.

Diet

Fijian banded iguanas are omnivores. They feed mostly on leaves, flowers, with a preference for the hibiscus flower, and fruits, including papaya and banana with the occasional insect also being eaten.

Young iguanas will drink by licking water off of leaves.

Habitat

This species can be found on the Fijian islands of Aiwa, Avea, Balavu, Beqa, Dravuni, Fulaga Kabara, Lakeba, Moturiki, Nggamea, Oneata, Ono, Taveuni, Totoya, Vanua Levu, Vanua, Vatu Vara, Vatuele and Wakaya.

Introduced populations exist on New Hebrides, Tonga, Vanuatu along with Wallis and Futuna.

On these islands they can live in most of the available habitats. These include high cloud forests and low lying coastal swamps. All of their time is spent in the trees.

Reproduction

Breeding season is from March to April or during November. It is possible for an iguana to mate during both seasons but generally they only make use of one. Males will attract a mate by rapidly bobbing their head and then tongue flicking the female’s back and forelimbs.

Fijian banded iguanaFollowing a successful mating the female will dig a diagonal nest in the ground which may reach a depth of 25cm (10in). Into this she deposits three to seven eggs into the nest. This nest will then be covered with soil and leaf litter. Fijian banded iguanas have the longest incubation period of all of the iguana species at seven to nine months.

A week before hatching the young iguanas shell will get a brown oval mark on its surface. This is where the iguana will emerge from. It may take a full day from them to come out from their egg and they then dig themselves out of the soil.

The young iguanas are on their own from day one responsible for finding their own food and a place to hide.

Behavior

When male iguanas come across another male they will bob their head as a warning. The more excited he is, the faster his head moves. They may also expand their dewlap with the aim of making them appear bigger.

Most of this iguana’s day is spent in the trees basking in the sun’s ray’s. They are diurnal meaning they wake during the day.

Predators of the Fijian banded iguana include rats, mongooses and cats. Humans take them for food and the illegal pet trade. Goats also compete with them for their food.

Quick facts

In Fiji this species is called “vokai” or “saumuri.”

This species is considered a national treasure in Fiji where they have featured on stamps, currency and phone book covers.

These are one of the very few iguanas which are found outside of the New World.

Photo Credits:

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By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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By H. Krisp (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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