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Diet and habitat preferences of the Fijian crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) on Yadua Taba, Fiji: implications for conservation

Morrison, Clare and Osborne, Tamara and Harlow, P.S. and Thomas, Nunia T. and Biciloa, P.N. and Niukula, J. (2007) Diet and habitat preferences of the Fijian crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) on Yadua Taba, Fiji: implications for conservation. Australia Journal of Zoology, 55 (6). pp. 341-350. ISSN 0310-9089

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > Institute of Applied Science
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2007 21:35
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2012 15:14
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/4253
UNSPECIFIED

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