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Cyclura nubila ssp. nubila

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA IGUANIDAE

Scientific Name: Cyclura nubila ssp. nubila
Species Authority: (Gray, 1830)
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Cuban Rock Iguana, Cuban Iguana, Cuban Ground Iguana
Taxonomic Notes: Synonyms = Cyclura harlani Duméril & Bibron 1837; Cyclura macleayii Gray 1845; Cyclura macleayi Barbour & Noble 1916; Cyclura nubila nubila Schwartz & Thomas 1975; Cyclura nubila nubila Schwartz & Carey 1977; Cyclura macleayi Bonetti 2002.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A1acde+2ce ver 2.3
Year Published: 1996
Date Assessed: 1996-08-01
Annotations:
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Alberts, A. & Perera, A.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Cuban iguana is well distributed around Cuba, mainly in xerophilic coastal areas, but relatively safe populations are found only on some islets along the north and south coasts and in isolated protected areas on the mainland. This subspecies has also been introduced to Isla Magueyes, southwest of Puerto Rico.
Countries:
Native:
Cuba
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Because of its wide distribution, accurate information about the number of distinct subpopulations of Cuban iguanas is currently unavailable, yet it may be present on as many as 4,000 islets surrounding the Cuban mainland. The population on the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay has been estimated at 2,000-3,000 individuals (A. Alberts and J. Phillips unpubl. data).

Not many decades ago, the subspecies was extremely widespread on Cuba. However populations on the mainland have decreased dramatically or disappeared entirely in most areas since the end of the last century. On many islets populations are still relatively safe, but this situation is changing with the transformation of many islets for tourist developments. Nevertheless if strictly protected areas on the mainland and islets continue to remain untouched, 60 to 80% of the remaining population will probably be safe. Any population analyses should be carried out with two distinct components: one for populations living on the mainland, and one for populations inhabiting small islands and islets.

The total population of this subspecies in Cuba is estimated at between 40,000 and 60,000 individuals.

In general the population is declining, more quickly on the mainland than in other areas. Most disturbing is the rapidity of the loss of this subspecies in disturbed areas. Iguanas are now absent from the northeastern Havana coast, the Hicacos peninsula and Key Largo, where they were known to be very abundant some 30-40 years ago. Mainland populations have probably been declining at a rate of greater than 1% per year for the last ten years.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Cuban iguanas can be found in relatively undisturbed xerophilic coastal lands on both mainland Cuba and surrounding islets, primarily in rocky limestone areas where natural refuges and appropriate nesting sites are available. Foraging is commonly observed in concentrations of coastal mangroves. In western Cuba there is an isolated population inhabiting an inland karstic mountain area. Apparently, semiarid lands several kilometers inland from the coast can still support iguana populations.

The Cuban iguana is a phytophagous generalist and the diversity of its diet depends on the floristic diversity and abundance of vegetation in each locality. If readily available with little effort, Cuban iguanas will also feed on animal matter. The most common animal item in the diet is the crab Cardisoma guandhumi.

Sexual maturity is reached at an age of two to three years. Reproductive behavior in this subspecies is similar to that described for other members of the genus. Males become aggressive, and vigorously defend territories in competition for females. Females lay 15 to 30 eggs annually in a single clutch in a nest which they dig in the sand.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat transformation and human disturbance represent the main threats to Cuban iguana populations. Other important threats include predation by wild and domestic dogs on both adults and juveniles, predation by cats on juveniles, and egg predation by pigs. Hunting is not a major threat because there is not a widespread tradition of consumption of iguana meat or eggs.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All but one of the major iguana concentrations are either partially or fully protected. At selected localities within the National System of Protected Areas, projects directed toward conservation and reproduction of Cuban iguanas are being carried out by the Centro Nacional de Areas Protegidas in collaboration with researchers from Havana University. Ecological and systematic studies are being conducted at the Institute of Ecology and Systematics, Cuban Academy of Sciences.

Citation: Alberts, A. & Perera, A. 1996. Cyclura nubila ssp. nubila. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 August 2014.
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