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Brachylophus gau FISHER, NIUKULA, WATLING & HARLOW, 2017

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Higher TaxaIguanidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Gau Iguana (pronounced Ngau) 
SynonymBrachylophus gau FISHER, NIUKULA, WATLING & HARLOW 2017
Brachylophus fasciatus — GIBBONS 1984
Brachylophus fasciatus — ZUG 1991
Brachylophus fasciatus — MORRISON 2003
Brachylophus bulabula — FISHER et al. 2008. 
DistributionRepublic of Fiji (Gau Island)

Type locality: forest patch 1 km behind Nukuloa Village, Gau Island, Republic of Fiji (18°2'46.68"S; 179°18'11.41"E, datum WGS84); 243 meters in elevation.  
TypesHolotype: USPS (given as SUVA) H 0264; collected by Robert Fisher, Peter Harlow, Tuverea Tuamotu, Joeli Vadada, Maleli Biciloa, Mark O’Brien, Poasa Qalo, 1 July 2013. Paratypes. SUVA H 0265 female collected same date, collectors, and locality as holotype (Figure 1). SUVA H 0266–0267 were collected at Nalaqere Creek (18°2'25.91"S; 179°17'12.05"E) on 2 July 2013, by the same collectors as the type. SUVA H 0273 was collected at Waitabua Hill (18°2'S; 179°18'E, WGS84), Gau Island, 439 meters in elevation, on 10 July 2013 by Mark Fraser and Poasa Qalo. BMNH collected at Sawaieke (17°59'14"S; 179°15'12"E), Gau Island, between 12 and 27 September 1854 by John MacGillivray. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This species has a unique combination of color pattern characters that distinguish it from all other species of described Brachylophus (Figures 2–7, Table 1). It also does not match any museum specimens we have previously seen in collections, except two from the BMNH that previously lacked specific locality info. These specimens are included in the type series as we were able to determine their provenance as Gau Island (see below in Provenance of Historic Specimens section). Although added to the type series, their measurements are left out of comparisons, but included in Table 2. We found that there are no locality specific museum vouchers that could represent extinct island populations of this species. Otherwise, this species differs from B. vitiensis by having sexually dichromatism, with banded males and females that are either unicolor or with small spots, and a maximum snout vent length for both sexes of 153 mm, versus 255 mm for B. vitiensis. It differs from B. bulabula and fasciatus in that males and females have green throats, whereas in these species males have white solid or white with green/grey spots or blotches, as do the females in most populations. Although in certain populations the females in B. bulabula and fasciatus the throat will be unicolor green, but never the males. It differs from the other three species by having a primarily green colored nasal scale. The mean snout vent length is 149.2 and max size for B. gau is 153 mm (n = 7), versus adult B. fasciatus with a mean 154.5 mm SVL and a maximum 176 mm SVL (n = 57) and B. bulabula with a mean 156.6 mm and a maximum 195 mm SVL (n = 23) (Table 1 in Fisher et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is for the only island where the species is known to occur, Gau. 
  • Buckley, Larry J.; Kevin de Queiroz, Tandora D. Grant, Bradford D. Hollingsworth, John B. Iverson (Chair, <br />Stesha A. Pasachnik, and Catherine L. Stephen (Iguana Taxonomy Working Group, ITWG 2016. A Checklist of the Iguanas of the World (Iguanidae; Iguaninae). Herp. Cons. Biol. 11 (Monograph 6) - get paper here
  • FISHER, ROBERT N.; JONE NIUKULA, DICK WATLING, PETER S. HARLOW 2017. A new species of iguana Brachylophus Cuvier 1829 (Sauria: Iguania: Iguanidae) from Gau Island, Fiji Islands. Zootaxa 4273 (3): 407–422 - get paper here
  • Kwet, Axel 2017. Brachylophus gau, ein neuer Leguan der Fidschiinseln. Terraria-Elaphe 2017 (6): 67 - get paper here
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