Record Details

Bryan, Jason J.;Gerber, Glenn P;Welch, Mark E;Stephen, Catherine
Re-evaluating the taxonomic status of the Booby Cay iguana, Cyclura carinata bartschi
Journal Article
Cyclura carinata carinata;Cyclura carinata bartschi;genetics
Cyclura carinata, a Bahamian rock iguana, currently has two recognized subspecies. Cyclura c. carinata is found on numerous islands and cays throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands. The second subspecies, C. c. bartschi, is now only known to exist on Booby Cay, a small island off of Mayaguana Island, Bahamas, which is also within the subspecies historic range. Support for subspecific status is weak. Geographic isolation appears to be the only strong indicator of genetic isolation. Recent conservation attempts made on the species behalf have raised questions regarding the validity of subspecific designations. We used mtDNA sequence data to ask whether there is any genetic variation that distinguishes C. c. bartschi from ten sampled populations of C. c. carinata. Our findings show that the Booby Cay population is fixed for a common mtDNA haplotype found in Caicos Island populations of C. carinata. In contrast, four different haplotypes were found among populations designated C. c. carinata. We conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support C. c. bartschi as a subspecies and recommend that the Booby Cay population be included in ongoing conservation efforts currently focused on the Turks and Caicos Islands.