2015 Díaz Interim Report

Studying the effects of habitat fragmentation and hunting on the genetic diversity of the threatened Oaxacan Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura oaxacana
Submitted by Gabriela Díaz-Juárez and Víctor Hugo Reynoso

Depto. de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

Females showed an average length of 12.5 ± 1.26 cm (range 9.5 to 15.5 cm). Average weight of females was 64.6 ± 21.15 g (range 26 to 140 g). Males showed an average length of 14.2 ± 1.8 cm (range 8-18 cm). Average male weight was 104.2 ± 35.5 g (range 24 to 200 g).

DNA extraction from each sampled iguanas began June 1. DNA concentration and quality were measured in 1% agarose gels, obtaining good results for all populations. Gene amplifications of mitochondrial and nuclear microsatellite genome fragments will be analyzed during August, 2015 at the Institute of Biology, UNAM, México.

Complementary activities in the field included interviewing people in different localities from the Isthmus and the coasts of Oaxaca, considering our knowledge of the use and practices related to iguanas within their communities. We observed that the capture of iguanas is a common practice and varies according to the species. Ctenosaura pectinata represents the highest hunted rate (36%), while C. oaxacana is lower (33%), and Iguana iguana represents 16%. Hunting of iguanas is more common during the nesting season and is done mostly for meat consumption.

The townspeople know that populations of spiny-tailed iguana, and iguanas in general, have been reduced and some of them are endangered. They agreed to develop programs and projects for protection and controlled use of iguana populations. We talked with the municipal presidents of the different towns on the importance and status of C. oaxacana. Furthermore, we talked with local communities on the importance of C. oaxacana, about the objectives of our study, and how they would benefit by knowing and protecting the Oaxaca Spiny-tailed Iguana.