Conolophus pallidus

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Santa Fe land iguana
Conolophuspallidus-santafe.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Iguanidae
Genus: Conolophus
Species: C. pallidus
Binomial name
Conolophus pallidus
Heller, 1903

Conolophus pallidus (the Barrington land iguana or Santa Fe land iguana) is a species of lizard in the Iguanidae family. It is one of three species in the genus Conolophus. It is endemic to Santa Fe Island in the Galapagos.[1][2]

Taxonomy[edit]

First described by American zoologist Edmund Heller in 1903, it has been questioned whether C. pallidus is a valid species in its own right or merely a variant or possibly a subspecies of the Galapagos land iguana found on other islands in the Galapagos.[3]

Etymology[edit]

Its generic name, Conolophus, is derived from two Greek words: conos (κώνος) meaning "spiny" and lophos (λοφος) meaning "crest" or "plume", denoting the spiny crest along its back. Its specific name, pallidus, is Latin for "pale", denoting its lighter coloration than C. subcristatus.

Morphology[edit]

The Santa Fe land iguana is similar in every detail to the Galapagos land iguana except that the Santa Fe land iguana is paler yellow in color with a longer more tapered snout and more pronounced dorsal spines.[1]

The Santa Fe land iguana grows to a total length (including tail) of 3 ft (0.91 m) with a body weight of up to 25 lb (11 kg).[4] Being cold-blooded, they absorb heat from the sun basking on volcanic rock and at night sleep in burrows to conserve their body heat.[4] These iguanas also enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the island's finches; the birds remove parasites and ticks providing relief to the iguana and food for the birds.[1][5]

Diet[edit]

Santa Fe land iguanas are primarily herbivorous, however some individuals have shown that they are opportunistic carnivores supplementing their diet with insects, centipedes and carrion.[1] Because fresh water is scarce on the islands they inhabit, land iguanas obtain the majority of their moisture from the prickly-pear cactus that makes up 80% of its diet: fruit, flowers, pads, and even spines.[1][4] During the rainy season they will drink from available standing pools of water and feast on yellow flowers of the genus Portulaca.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Freda (2006). "Land iguanas". Charles Darwin Research Station Fact Sheet. Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. Archived from the original on 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  2. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). Conolophus pallidus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 10/17/2007.
  3. ^ Rassmann, Kornelia; Markmann, Melanie; Trillmich, Fritz; Tautz, Diethard (2004), "Tracing the Evolution of the Galapagos Iguanasn", Iguanas: Biology and Conservation (California: University of California Press): 71–83, ISBN 978-0-520-23854-1 
  4. ^ a b c d Rogers, Barbara (1990), Galapagos, New York: Mallard Press, p. 51, ISBN 978-0-7924-5192-1 
  5. ^ a b Kricher, John (2006), Galapagos: A Natural History, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, pp. 9,51,91,200, ISBN 978-0-691-12633-3