New Species of Fijian Iguana

Main report: Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana
(USGS News)
Other Reporting: Fiji News, Fiji Times
Scientific Paper: Zootaxa    (Plazi Treatment)
New Taxa: Brachylophus gau
Common Name: Gau Iguana (pronounced Ngau)
Species named for: Island of Gau, Republic of Fiji
Categories: New Species | Reptiles | Species Discovery

The new species of lizard, Brachylophus gau, is one of only four living species of South Pacific iguana, and is restricted to the island of Gau, Republic of Fiji.   The first known recording of iguanas on Gau Island dates back to an expedition in the mid-19th century. In 1854, the survey ship HMS Herald carried Scottish naturalist John MacGillivray to the Fiji islands, where he chronicled his encounters with native wildlife in his journal.  MacGillivray’s journal entries were used with live observations and museum specimens to confirm and describe the new species.

The discovery of the new species of lizard — Brachylophus gau — was made by researchers and scientists from The National Trust of Fiji, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, US Geologica Survey and the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, and as its name suggests, is restricted to Gau Island.

Credit: Mark Fraser

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