Diet and Habitat Preferences of the Fijian Crested Iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) on Yadua Taba, Fiji: Implications for Conservation
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The Fijian crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) is restricted to tropical dry forest habitat and has been extirpated from over 80% of its original range primarily because of habitat destruction. A large population on Yadua Taba island has been proposed as a source for iguana translocations. This study aimed to determine the dietary and habitat requirements of the herbivorous B. vitiensis on Yadua Taba to identify essential tree species. Between September 2005 and June 2006 we examined the diet of B. vitiensis using faecal analyses, while perch preferences were examined using field surveys. Faecal analyses identified 26 plant species in the diet of B. vitiensis, while field surveys recorded iguanas in 33 tree species. The most common diet species largely overlapped with the most common perch species. There were no major seasonal shifts, sex differences, or age-class variations in diet or perch preferences. These results suggest that while B. vitiensis occurs in and consumes several plant species on Yadua Taba, it is primarily dependent on only a few species. To improve translocation success, future translocations of B. vitiensis need to ensure that these important tree species are present at new sites.
Australian Journal of Zoology
Conservation and Biodiversity