Record Details

Vogel, Peter
Evidence of reproduction in a remnant population of the endangered Jamaican iguana, Cyclura collei (Lacertilia, Iguanidae)
Caribbean Journal of Science
Journal Article
Cyclura collei;reproduction
Although believed to be extinct, the endemic Jamaican Iguana Cyclura collei Gray, was recently discovered in the Hellshire Hills on Jamaica's south coast. For the first time, nesting and hatching could be documented. In 1991, gravid females commenced trial digging of nest burrows in April, two months before egg laying. From June 15 to June 24, six females deposited their clutches at two nesting sites, both sunlit and with thick layers of soil. At one site, two females nested 13 m apart from each other, while four females nested 2-4 m apart at the second site. Spent females defended their nests against rival females over periods of 9-16 days. Three other gravid females visited the two sites but did not lay there. Clutch size (n= 4) ranged from 16-20 eggs. One clutch of 16 eggs was retrieved and incubated in captivity. Eleven hatchlings were obtained after 86-90 days of incubation. Hatchlings in the field emerged 85-87 days after egg deposition. Hatching success varied from 0% to 100% and appeared positively correlated with female body size. Snout-vent-length and body mass of 31 hatchlings averaged 94.9 mm (90-99 mm) and 32.8 g (24.3 -36.5 g), respectively. No predation on nesting females, eggs, or hatching young was observed, perhaps because the research team protected the iguanas. The frequent presence of introduced predators and competitors such as mongooses, dogs and pigs at or near the nesting sites emphasized the importance of taking protective measures during the reproductive season.