Atlas de Especies Invasoras de Puerto Rico

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Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) in Puerto Rico: is it time for management?

We found evidence that I. iguana is threatening native biodiversity and impacting infrastructure, agriculture and human safety.
Iguana verde - Embalse La Plata - Toa Baja, PR

 

Abstract

Iguana iguana is native to Central and South America, and was introduced into Puerto Rico in the 1970s as a result of pet trade. The invasive biology of this reptile has not been studied in Puerto Rico, where its negative effects may threaten local biodiversity. The purposes of this study were to: (1) estimate population densities of I. iguana; (2) describe some aspects of its reproductive biology; and (3) assess its potential impacts. Visual-encounter surveys were performed at Parque Lineal in San Juan and Canal Blasina in Carolina, while nesting activity data were collected at Las Cabezas de San Juan in Fajardo. Densities of I. iguana in Puerto Rico reached a maximum of 223 individuals ha−1, higher than in any known locality in its native range, and showed fluctuations related to seasonality. Our 2008–2009 observations at the nesting sites document that this population of I. iguana is a reproductively successful species, producing more than 100 egg clutches and 2,558 eggs with a 91.4% egg viability. The ability to proliferate in a low predation environment and the absence of good competitors are the major drivers of the population densities observed in Puerto Rico. We found evidence that I. iguana is threatening native biodiversity and impacting infrastructure, agriculture and human safety. Thus, a management program to control the species must soon be developed to prevent this invasive reptile from becoming more widespread and dominant in other localities around the island.

 

Complete Article

http://www.springerlink.com/content/h314317512879hg7/