Great Isaac Cay

Approach to Great Isaac Cay. Note the Casuarina forest. Photo by Kristin Winchell.

Approach to Great Isaac Cay. Note the Casuarina forest. Photo by Kristin Winchell.

Great Isaac Cay, NE of the Bimini group, Bahamas. Image from Google Earth 2015.

Great Isaac Cay, NE of the Bimini group, Bahamas. Image from Google Earth 2015.

As Kristin mentioned in a previous post, we recently visited some of the Bimini islands  in search of data on Anolis sagrei ordinatus. Through a stroke of luck, we were able to visit remote Great Isaac Cay for an afternoon of herping, hoping to find some anoles there.

Great Isaac is a small weathered carbonate formation, rising perhaps 15m above the extreme northwestern corner of the shallow Great Bahama Bank. The island was more or less continuously inhabited for about a century by a lighthouse-keeper staff, and hence the native fauna could have been drastically affected. The island is frequently visited by boaters who come ashore to explore the ruins, as well as Bahamian commercial fisherman (note the boat in the right of the photo) who use the structures for shelter. The island now has a well developed Casuarina forest, with a deep (50-150cm) litter of Casuarina twigs.

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The author surveying the Casuarina forest on Great Isaac. Photo by Kristin Winchell.

We spent about six person-hours  around 1500h on Great Isaac- plenty of time to cover the entire island. We surveyed for reptiles by lifting and replacing loose rocks, as well as checking around and under vegetation and within abandoned structures. We failed to turn up a single anole, though we did find two species of reptiles. We encountered quite a few Sphaerodactylus nigropunctatus flavicauda under rocks in the Casuarina forest, and only two Ameiva auberi richmondi in open areas around the abandoned lighthouse.

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Surveying the west end of Great Isaac Cay. Photo by Kristin Winchell.

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Sphaerodactylus nigropunctatus flavicauda, female. Great Isaac Cay.

As far as we can tell there are no island lists of the herpetofauna for Great Isaac, indeed we did not even include the island in our recent list of Bahamian herpetofauna (available here). The island is at least listed in the original version of this work, yet without any records. So, has anyone else come across herpetofaunal records for Great Isaac Cay?

About Graham Reynolds

Graham is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His research focuses on Caribbean herpetology- specifically anoles and boas.

2 thoughts on “Great Isaac Cay

  1. Wow! In the Lesser Antilles I was unable to find ANY bit of “land” above the tide line that had any vegetation above herb stage that lacked anoles. If there was a single shrub, that shrub would have a couple anoles in it….

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