Monday, August 11, 2008

Catching the red-eye

Another iguana. This one is another of the tremendously rare Cyclura rock iguanas. As you may remember from this post on the Anegadan stout iguana these are endemic to the caribbean region and there are a number of species and subspecies evolved to live on certain islands. This is one of two from Hispaniola, Ricord's iguana, Cyclura ricordii.


The really distinctive features on this one are its whorled tail and bright red eyes. Its range is less than 100km2 and its ranked as critically endangered. Due to hunting and habitat disturbance the population of these guys has crashed over the past few decades. This was the second of two I saw on Isla Cabritos, a protected island park in South-western Dominican Republic with one of two healthy populations. I'd pretty much resigned myself to no great photos when I saw this one in the bush. I had my sigma 500mm lens and used all the range I could to get head shots in the bush.


With that the iguana strode towards us and came much closer. Whereupon he begged one of my fellow tourists' mango skin. All rock iguanas are herbivores and they tend to take advantage of a very wide range of foods. Ricord's it seems like mango skin.



Wren said...

I like the photos. He looks very fierce, until that last one.

tai haku said...
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tai haku said...

Thanks Wren - I'm very proud of these; considering the rarity of the species and the conditions I think they are right up there with my best work

Regarding looking fierce I think the elongated nose and the nostril positioning on these guys has a bit of a Jurassic Park velociraptor/komodo dragon effect.