Galapagos Pink Land Iguanas on Verge of Extinction, Experts Say

3 September 2021

The Galápagos pink land iguana (Conolophus marthae). Image credit: Gabriele Gentile & Howard L. Snell, doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.2201.1.1.

A critically endangered species of lizard called Conolophus marthae is in dire need of conservation action, according to researchers from Galápagos Conservancy and the Galápagos National Park Directorate.

Conolophus marthae, a member of the family Iguanidae, is native to the Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island of the Galápagos, Ecuador.

It was first discovered in 1986 and was identified as a separate species, distinct from the Galápagos land iguana (Conolophus subcristatus), early in 2009.

The species has a pink body with some dark stripes, prompting some to call it the Galápagos pink land iguana or rosy iguana.

“During the recent 10-day joint expedition, we surveyed the population of pink land iguanas across an area of nearly 1,000 acres on Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island, the only place in the world that the species inhabits,” said scientists from Galápagos Conservancy and the Galápagos National Park Directorate.

“Using a mark-recapture method of population analysis, we estimated the total number of pink land iguanas at 211.”

“Alarmingly, no juveniles were found — the last juvenile was sighted in 2014 — and we are concerned that introduced predators such as rodents and feral cats are preying on eggs and young hatchlings.”

The experts also deployed a series of camera traps near the summit of Wolf Volcano.

Footage from these cameras will help them gain a better understanding of pink land iguana behaviors and threats.

“Saving the pink land iguana has become an urgent conservation priority,” said Danny Rueda, director of the Galápagos National Park Directorate, and Washington Tapia, director of conservation at Galápagos Conservancy.

“Given the presence of introduced predators and the lack of juveniles, as well as the limited geographic range of the species, the pink land iguana is at risk of imminent extinction.”

Read the original coverage from Sci News at http://www.sci-news.com/biology/galapagos-pink-land-iguanas-10029.html


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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