Native Village Youth and Education News
February 1, 2009 Issue 194 Volume 4

New Pink Lizard Found on Galapagos

Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications

Galapagos Islands: Scientists have documented a new species of pink lizards they are calling "iguana rosada." Discovered on the Galapagos Islands, the pink lizards are believed to date back more than 5,000,000 years. They may be one of the archipelago's oldest species. "To discover a large vertebrate that was unknown in an area where there has been a lot of research is very special," said one researcher.

 Tests on 36 pink iguanas -- which average 3 to 5 feet in length -- show the lizards belong to a species that appears to live exclusively around Isabela Island's Wolf Volcano. The pink iguana population, eating and reproductive habits are still unknown, and no young animals have been discovered.
 "We need to clarify if reproduction is impeded and for what reasons," said researcher Gabriele Gentile. She noted that that feral cats  may be eating the iguana's eggs. The pink iguana has not yet been given a scientific name.

The Galapagos islands is an archipelago located about 620 miles off Ecuador's Pacific coast.  In 1978, they were protected as a UNESCO's Natural Heritage site. In 2007 UNESCO declared them at risk due to invasive species, tourism and immigration. The islands are known for their unique flora and fauna, including marine and land iguanas, blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises that live up to 150 years of age. The variety of finches on the islands inspired Darwin's theory of evolution.

The Associated Press.

photo: CBS



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