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1 April 2013 Biology and Impacts of Pacific Island Invasive Species. 10. Iguana iguana, the Green Iguana (Squamata: Iguanidae)
Wilfredo Falcón, James D. Ackerman, Wilnelia Recart, Curtis C. Daehler
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Green iguanas (Iguana iguana L.) have been introduced to many locations outside their native range due to both the pet trade and illegal introductions. This has led to the establishment of populations and subsequent spread outside the native range, with negative impacts documented in some places. The Pacific region is no exception, where green iguana populations have been reported historically in Hawai'i and recently in Fiji and Ishigaki Island (Japan). Experience with I. iguana in the Greater Caribbean Basin has taught us that, if the right conditions are present, these reptiles proliferate and expand their range rapidly. We assessed the potential impacts that I. iguana may have on Pacific islands, especially where populations have been reported, and evaluated the risk of a green iguana invasion on Pacific islands using the maximum entropy nichemodeling algorithm (MaxEnt). The model predicted high climatic suitability for these reptiles on many Pacific islands, including those where populations have already been reported. Management and eradication strategies may include (1) targeting males during the reproductive season, when they establish territories and are displaying in trees; (2) finding females during the nesting season, when they are active on the ground and in vegetation at nearby nesting areas; and (3) finding nests and destroying eggs, or constructing artificial nesting areas to lure females. Green iguanas may be captured by hand or by pole-noose, with dogs, or shot with a 0.22 rifle. Where green iguanas are kept as pets, education campaigns are critical to prevent escapes. If possession is illegal, amnesty may be offered to owners who hand them in. Without proper regulation and management, I. iguana is likely to continue spreading and invading other Pacific islands.

© 2013 by University of Hawai'i Press
Wilfredo Falcón, James D. Ackerman, Wilnelia Recart, and Curtis C. Daehler "Biology and Impacts of Pacific Island Invasive Species. 10. Iguana iguana, the Green Iguana (Squamata: Iguanidae)," Pacific Science 67(2), 157-186, (1 April 2013).
Accepted: 27 August 2012; Published: 1 April 2013
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