|Brachylophus bulabula in the aquarium of the Cologne Zoological Garden|
Keogh, Edwards, Fisher, and Harlow, 2008
Brachylophus bulabula is a species of iguanid lizard endemic to some of the larger central and northwestern islands of Fiji (Ovalau, Gau, Kadavu and Viti Levu), where it occurs in Fijian wet forest. It was discovered by a team led by a scientist from the Australian National University in 2008. It is one of the few species of iguana found outside of the New World and one of the most geographically isolated members of the family Iguanidae.
Taxonomy and etymology
The generic name, Brachylophus, is derived from two Greek words: brachys (βραχῦς) meaning "short" and lophos (λοφος) meaning "crest" or "plume", denoting the short spiny crests along the back of this species. The specific name, bulabula, is a doubling of the Fiji word for "hello": bula.
The species is closely related to the Fiji banded iguana and the Fiji crested iguana. This species was described after a mitochondrial DNA analysis of 61 iguanas from 13 islands showed that B. bulabula was genetically and physically different from the two other species.
All three species have been suggested to have evolved from iguanas that crossed, in part over dry land bridges, to Fiji from Southeast Asia. It has also been suggested that the ancestors of these iguanas rafted 9000 km west across the Pacific Ocean from the Americas, where their closest relatives are found.
Fiji iguanas are herbivorous,they feed on the leaves, fruit, and flowers of trees and shrubs, particularly hibiscus flowers of the Vau tree (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and fruit such as banana and papaya.[page needed] Hatchlings may feed on insects; however, adults usually will not.[page needed]
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