Moreover, a terrestrial and burrow-nesting rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli) lives on San Salvador and surrounding cays [22, 27–29]. The modern-day San Salvador rock iguanas are critically endangered. [1] The Bahamian government has refused to issue export permits for any rock iguanas. San Salvador, however, is a small, isolated island surrounded by deep ocean, setting up the mystery for how the first iguanas arrived there at least 115,000 years ago. The fossilized burrow dates back to the Late Pleistocene Epoch, about 115,000 years ago, and is located on the island of San Salvador — best known as the likely spot where Christopher Columbus … cristata). "It's a mystery how and when the modern-day San Salvadoran rock iguanas arrived there. This species and others were common throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when Europeans introduced rats, pigs and other invasive species that preyed on eggs and iguanas of all ages. The now endangered San Salvador rock iguana, Cyclura riyeli riyeli, and other Cyclura species were plentiful throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when European ships began introducing rats, pigs and other invasive species that feed on the lizards’ eggs. Caption. Martin's specialty is ichnology—the study of traces of life, such as tracks, nests and burrows. Possible hybrid threatens native iguanas in Cayman Islands, Researchers find Mars has a Chandler wobble, Evidence of huntsman spider creating leaf trap for a frog found in Madagascar, Self‐folding 3-D photosensitive graphene architectures, Eight binary millisecond pulsars examined by researchers, Experiments with bifluoride ions show evidence of hybrid bonds. The now endangered San Salvador rock iguana, Cyclura riyeli riyeli, and other Cyclura species were plentiful throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when European ships began introducing rats, … Anthony J. Martin, CC BY-NC-SA Iguanas on San Salvador. The trade winds take this red dust across the Atlantic and deposit it in the Caribbean.". part may be reproduced without the written permission. The rocks are eolian aragonitic calcarenite limestones of Pleistocene age (probably the Owl's Hole Formation, Middle Pleistocene). The endangered San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). The researchers were able to date the iguana trace to about 115,000 years ago due to tell-tale red paleosols, or fossilized soils. Additionally, the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists the Rock Iguana as near extinction or very endangered. The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world—the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli … [5][6], Once inhabiting all the large islands of the Bahamas, today C. rileyi is confined to six populations in small remote cays of three island groups: San Salvador Island, Acklins, and Exuma. Share | February 11, 2014. An iguana stands on a rock surface. Credit. “It’s a mystery how and when the modern-day San Salvadoran rock iguanas arrived there. The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by Phys.org in any form. This is internationally recognized as a Key Biodiversity Area. "Making the connection between how long iguanas have been on the island and how the modern-day San Salvador rock iguanas are endangered may help more people understand why they are worth preserving.". “San Salvador is one of the outer-most islands in the Bahamas chain and really isolated,” says Anthony Martin, a professor in Emory’s Department of Environmental Sciences and senior author of the PLOS ONE paper. "On the north point of San Salvador, for instance, the undulating landscape consists of ancient sand dunes that turned into rock. "It sparks a lot of excitement in students when they experience the process of scientific discovery in the field. "It's like when you pack sand to build a sandcastle at the beach," Martin explains. The Highlights Watling’s Blue Hole . The lack of burrows from hatchlings digging their way to the surface, however, suggests that the nest failed and that the eggs never produced young. The discovery of the first known fossil iguana nesting burrow, on an outer island of the Bahamas, fills in a gap of scientific knowledge for a prehistoric behavior of an iconic lizard. Like all Cyclura species, the San Salvador rock iguana's diet is primarily herbivorous, 95% of which comes from consuming leaves, flowers and fruits from 7 different plant species such as seaside rock shrub (Rachicallis americana), and erect prickly pear (Opuntia stricta). Herp. He documents modern-day traces to help him identify trace fossils from the deep past to learn about prehistoric animal behaviors. We can walk across these ancient dunes to look at the rock record and get an idea of how the island changed over time.". First-known fossil iguana burrow found in the Bahamas. TWO Bahamas National Trust park wardens having learned more about the rare and endangered Bahamian Rock Iguana, joined an international … [2], Its specific name, rileyi, is a Latinized form of the surname of American ornithologist Joseph Harvey Riley,[3] who collected the holotype. Cons. December 9, 2020 11:30 pm Illustration shows a cross section of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and how the surrounding landscape may have looked during the Late Pleistocene Epoch. 10.2305/IUCN.UK.1996.RLTS.T6033A12351578.en, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cyclura_rileyi&oldid=941822920, IUCN Red List critically endangered species, Critically endangered fauna of North America, Articles containing potentially dated statements from August 2007, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Central Bahamian Rock Iguana, White Cay Ground Iguana, White Cay iguana or Sandy Cay rock iguana, Fish Cay and North Cay in the Acklins Bight, Bahamas, This page was last edited on 20 February 2020, at 22:02. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. Clair Patterson, Measuring Earth's Age, Discovery of Pb contamination, Science X Daily and the Weekly Email Newsletter are free features that allow you to receive your favorite sci-tech news updates in your email inbox. population estimates, home range size and diet of the endangered San Salvador rock iguana (Cyclura r. rileyi). San Salvador rock iguanas are principally herbivores. This backfilling technique created compaction zones that weathered out over time from the surrounding limestone because they were more durable. San Salvador’s Rock Iguanas (Cyclura rileyi rileyi) are among the rarest lizards in the world. San Salvador rock iguana (Cyclura rileyi rileyi) conservation program $ 930 donated by Herpetofauna. A San Salvador rock iguana (image) Emory Health Sciences. The endangered lizards were found in a suitcase at Terminal Five on Monday when officers stopped two Romanian women who had arrived from the Bahamas. But burrows are not as helpful when it comes to rats and pigs.". [1] The Guana Cay population has been reduced to less than 24 individual animals. This lizard is one of three subspecies of C. rileyithat are endemic to the Bahamas. The discovery of the first known fossil iguana nesting burrow, on an outer island of the Bahamas, fills in a gap of scientific … San Salvador’s Rock Iguanas (Cyclura rileyi rileyi) are among the rarest lizards in the world. Established: 2015; Location: Northwest San Salvador; Size: 586 Acres; Park Type: Marine & Terrestrial; Protects: Bahamian rock iguana | seabird nesting sites This lizard is one of three subspecies of C. rileyi that are endemic to the Bahamas. Persons with mobility impairments and those in wheelchairs will have difficulty accessing the park, because you have to travel by small boat. The park protects the lake and surrounding mangrove ecosystem, both critical to the preservation of the endangered San Salvador Rock Iguana and several bird species. Today, they are among the rarest lizards in the world, with only a few hundred of them left.". You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details to third parties. The lizard's back color can range from red, orange or yellow, to green, brown or grey, usually patterned by darker markings. This inland blue hole is found on southwestern San Salvador. Click here to sign in with Rock iguanas have a high degree of endemism, with in most cases a single species or subspecies restricte The discovery of the first known fossil iguana nesting burrow, on an outer island of the Bahamas, fills in a gap of scientific knowledge for a prehistoric behavior of an iconic lizard. “San Salvador is one of the outer-most islands in the Bahamas chain and really isolated,” says Anthony Martin, a professor in Emory’s Department of Environmental Sciences and senior author of the PLOS ONE paper. Conservation of the Endangered San Salvador Rock Iguanas (Cyclura rileyi rileyi): Population Estimation, Invasive Species Control, Translocation, and Headstarting. The now endangered San Salvador rock iguana, Cyclura riyeli riyeli, and other Cyclura species were plentiful throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when European ships began introducing rats, pigs and other invasive species that feed on the lizards’ eggs. The park protects the lake and surrounding mangrove ecosystem, both critical to the preservation of the endangered San Salvador Rock Iguana and several bird species. Print E-Mail. This document is subject to copyright. "Iguanas have evolved a behavior where a female actually buries herself alive in sand, lays her eggs, and then 'swims' out, packing the loose sand behind her as she leaves the burrow to hide the eggs from predators," Martin says. These lizards are only found on San Salvador and the surrounding cays. IMAGE: Illustration shows a cross section of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and how the surrounding landscape may have looked during Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors. It is a habitat for the San Salvador Rock Iguana, the highest diversity of nesting seabirds in The Bahamas (14 of 17 species), extensive sea-grass meadows, and healthy reef systems, like the critically endangered Elkhorn coral. This lizard is one of the rarest reptiles on Earth. "But whenever there is a drop in sea level, the Sahara expands in size creating big dust storms. The now endangered San Salvador rock iguana, Cyclura riyeli riyeli, and other Cyclura species were plentiful throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when European ships began introducing rats, pigs and other invasive species that feed on the lizards’ eggs. Digging burrows has helped them survive hurricanes, droughts and other bad things that might be in their environment, like most predators. The finding fills in a gap of scientific knowledge for a prehistoric behavior of an iconic lizard. First described by Leonhard Stejneger in 1903, it is known commonly in the Bahamas as simply "iguana". and Terms of Use. “It’s a mystery how and when the modern-day San Salvadoran rock iguanas arrived there. Accessibility Notes. The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world—the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). First described by Leonhard Stejneger in 1903, it is known commonly in the Bahamas as simply "iguana". The San Salvador rock iguana is an endangered species of lizard of the genus Cyclura in the family Iguanidae. Mating occurs in May and June, with clutches of 3-10 eggs usually laid in June or July, in nests excavated in pockets of earth exposed to the sun. Why is the CO2 level lower in my house than outside? The now endangered San Salvador rock iguana, Cyclura riyeli riyeli, and other Cyclura species were plentiful throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when European ships began introducing rats, pigs and other invasive species that feed on the lizards’ eggs. This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties. … "And one of the main ways that they survive is through burrowing. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. Share | February 11, 2014. "No matter how much you read about things in a textbook, a lot of concepts in geology just don't click until you see them in real life," Hage says. They were identified as San Salvador rock iguanas, a species so rare that only a few hundred are known to be in existence. Dear Editor, Over the past few days an intense discussion has been going on by telephone, emails and in the local and international press with regard to a report out of the United Kingdom of the discovery of 13 rock iguanas in the luggage of two women arriving from Nassau. 2014 - 2014 Project duration. Its specific name, rileyi, is a Latinized form of the surname of American ornithologist Joseph Harvey Riley, who collected the holotype. The oldest iguana skeletons found on San Salvador only date back less than 12,000 years, in the Holocene Epoch, so the discovery of the iguana trace pushes their presence on the islands back significantly. This species and others were common throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when Europeans introduced rats, pigs and other invasive species that preyed on eggs and iguanas of all ages. Based on Late Pleistocene-Holocene body fossils of C . “San Salvador is one of the outer-most islands in the Bahamas chain and really isolated,” says Anthony Martin, a professor in Emory University’s environmental sciences department and senior author of the paper. Theft of rock iguanas from San Salvador. Males appear to mature at a slightly larger size, at approximately seven years of age.[7]. These lizards are only found on San Salvador and the surrounding cays. The species is native to three island groups in the Bahamas, and is in decline due to habitat encroachment by human development and predation by feral dogs and cats. The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world—the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). "One of the cool things about iguanas is that they are survivors," Martin says. ", "Students get to actually see the connections of the past and the present," Martin adds. "We're hoping researchers who study iguana evolution will be inspired by our paper to dig deeper into this question," Martin says. Credit: Anthony Martin. The fossil record for iguanas goes back to the Late Cretaceous in South America. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. Biol. The San Salvador rock iguana is an endangered species of lizard of the genus Cyclura in the family Iguanidae. This species and others were common throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when Europeans introduced rats, pigs and other invasive species that preyed on eggs and iguanas of all ages. The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world – the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). Illustration by Anthony Martin. $930 donated by Herpetofauna. [1] A public relations campaign is planned to heighten awareness and appreciation among island residents for this endemic lizard.[1]. “One of the cool things about iguanas is that they are survivors,” Martin says. All of the Cyclura species are considered critically endangered and unfortunately most of them have been driven to near extinction. Co-authors also include two former undergraduates from the class: Dottie Stearns (now in medical school at the University of Colorado) and Meredith Whitten (who now works in fisheries management for the state of North Carolina). The San Salvador rock iguana is an endangered species of lizard of the genus Cyclura in the family Iguanidae. Most of the Bahamian islands sit on a relatively shallow platform, making it easy to imagine how iguanas might have migrated there during sea-level lows. Your opinions are important to us. During a stop on the shoreline road on the south end of the island, Martin happened to notice what looked like the trace of a fossil iguana burrow on a limestone outcrop exposed by a roadcut. San Salvador’s Great Lake stretches through most of the island and connects the major settlements. In this thesis I present the results of a study on the reproductive ecology, activity levels, population estimates, home range size and diet of the endangered San Salvador rock iguana (Cyclura r. rileyi). They were carrying 13 San Salvador rock iguanas each wrapped in a sock but sadly only 12 survived the journey from the Caribbean. "It's a similar principle but, in the case of the iguana burrow, it happens underground.". Learn More. Dear Editor, Over the past few days an intense discussion has been going on by telephone, emails and in the local and international press with regard to a report out of the United Kingdom of the discovery of 13 rock iguanas in the luggage of two women arriving from Nassau. If the Sahara is caused by the Hadley cell, it should ring the Earth like the Hadley cell, surely? Learn More The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world – the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). The oldest known iguana body fossils from San Salvador … Cyclura Cyclura cornuta, rhinoceros iguana Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Iguania Family: Iguanidae Genus: Cyclura Harlan, 1825 Cyclura is a genus of lizards in the family Iguanidae. Today iguanas are found in tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world – the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). [2] Together they are one of the most threatened species of all the West Indian rock iguanas and are described as critically endangered according to the current IUCN Red List. [7] This diet is very rarely supplemented with insect larvae, crabs, slugs, dead birds and fungi. riyeli riyeli on San Salvador [ 7 , 8 ], these modern populations were preceded by ancestral ones, further supporting the likelihood of iguana trace fossils in the geologic record there. With fewer than 600 individuals remaining in 7 populations on small, remote islands, this iguana is one of the rarest lizards in the world. Immature iguanas lack these bright colors, being either solid brown or grey with faint slightly darker stripes. The oldest known iguana body fossils from San Salvador date from less than 12,000 years ago. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. 2014 - 2014 Project duration. PLOS ONE published the finding by scientists from Emory University, which also uncovers new clues to the geologic and natural history of the Bahamas. [4], As of 1975 two additional subspecific forms have been identified along with the nominal subspecies: the Acklins ground iguana (C. r. nuchalis) and the White Cay iguana (C. r. [7] A study in 1995 estimated there were between 426 and 639 specimens left in the wild, and that this number has likely been reduced since much of their habitat was destroyed in 1999 by Hurricane Floyd. Individuals are aggressively territorial from the age of about 3 months. "The red indicates oxidized iron minerals and there are no native iron minerals in that area," Martin explains. Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. Female San Salvador rock iguanas attain sexual maturity when they reach 20 cm (7.9 in) in length from snout to vent and weigh 300 g (11 oz). The modern-day San Salvador rock iguanas are critically endangered. The researchers also hope that the paper draws attention to the plight of modern-day San Salvador rock iguanas. The population of the San Salvador rock iguana is considered to be one of the most threatened of all animal species on earth, with numbers as … The content is provided for information purposes only. After further investigation, Martin and his co-authors determined that the trace fossil he noticed on the limestone outcrop was that of a nesting iguana burrow. The iguanas that live on San Salvador Island today are among the rarest lizard species in the world—the San Salvador Island rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli). Despite their large size, formidable claws and fierce-looking spikes arrayed on their backs, iguanas are mostly herbivores. “One of the cool things about iguanas is that they are survivors,” Martin says. [1], As of August 2007[update], no legal captive breeding programs exist outside of the Bahamas. [1], This species, like other species of Cyclura, is sexually dimorphic; males are larger than females, and have more prominent dorsal crests as well as larger femoral pores on their thighs, which are used to release pheromones. Established: 2015; Location: Northwest San Salvador; Size: 586 Acres; Park Type: Marine & Terrestrial; Protects: Bahamian rock iguana | seabird nesting sites There are three subspecies: the Acklins ground iguana (Cyclura rileyi nuchalis), the White Cay iguana (Cyclura rileyi cristata), and the nominotypical subspecies (Cyclura rileyi rileyi). [1], Measuring 300 to 390 mm (12 to 15 in) in snout-to-vent length (SVL) when full grown, the San Salvador rock iguana is a colorful lizard, the coloration varying between subspecies as well as between individual specimens. or, by Carol Clark, Emory University. PLOS ONE published the finding by scientists from Emory University, which also uncovers new clues to the geologic and natural history of the Bahamas. The species is sexually dimorphic: males are larger and have more prominent dorsal crests (see above), while females have smaller body … googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); }); The fossilized burrow dates back to the Late Pleistocene Epoch, about 115,000 years ago, and is located on the island of San Salvador—best known as the likely spot where Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in his 1492 voyage. This story is troubling in many ways. The San Salvador Rock Iguana is found on the island of the Bahamas where the first European settlers were said to have first touched land. While the island's natives often used iguanas as food and funerary offerings in pre-colonial times, man's largest-scale devastation to these animals was as a result of clear-cutting forests to create plantations as well as the introduction of non-native species. “It’s a mystery how and when the modern-day San Salvadoran rock iguanas arrived there. All of the Cyclura species are considered critically endangered and unfortunately most of them have been driven to near extinction. Illustration shows a cross section of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and how the surrounding landscape may have looked during the Late Pleistocene Epoch. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). [1] Introduced black rats, raccoons, feral dogs, mongoose, hogs, and cats have taken their toll on the population by direct predation, as have the larvae of a moth (Cactoblastis cactorum), introduced decades ago to the Caribbean, which are rapidly devastating prickly-pear cacti, an important food source for the iguanas. Based on Late Pleistocene-Holocene body fossils of C . The San Salvador rock iguana (Cyclura riyeli riyeli), a terrestrial and burrow-nesting subspecies of rock iguana, lives on modern-day San Salvador. “San Salvador is one of the outer-most islands in the Bahamas chain and really isolated,” says Anthony Martin, a professor in Emory University’s environmental sciences department and senior author of the paper. "San Salvador is one of the outer-most islands in the Bahamas chain and really isolated," says Anthony Martin, a professor in Emory's Department of Environmental Sciences and senior author of the PLOS ONE paper. San Salvador rock iguana (Cyclura rileyi rileyi) conservation program. It is a habitat for the San Salvador Rock Iguana, the highest diversity of nesting seabirds in The Bahamas (14 of 17 species), extensive sea-grass meadows, and healthy reef systems, like the critically endangered Elkhorn coral. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy Bahamian and international laws make it illegal to capture, remove or harm rock iguanas. The current discovery was made during a class field trip to San Salvador as part of the course "Modern and Ancient Tropical Environments," co-taught by Martin and Melissa Hage, an assistant professor of environmental science at Emory's Oxford College and a co-author of the paper. “One of the cool things about iguanas is that they are survivors,” Martin says. Description: Cyclura rileyi rileyi (Stejneger, 1903) - male San Salvador rock iguana. [8], Other threats by humans include tourists trampling iguanas' nests, iguanas contracting disease from eating human garbage, and illicit smuggling for the pet trade. Cyclura rileyi, commonly known as the Bahamian rock iguana or the San Salvador rock iguana, is a critically endangered species of lizard in the family Iguanidae. “It’s a mystery how and when the modern-day San Salvadoran rock iguanas arrived there. Ample evidence, including a nearby fossil land-crab burrow discovered by Hage, showed that the outcrop was a former inland sand dune, where iguanas prefer to lay their eggs. The discovery of the first known fossil iguana nesting burrow, on an outer island of the Bahamas, fills in a gap of scientific knowledge for a prehistoric behavior of … The very brightest colors (red, orange, blue, or yellow) are normally only displayed by males and are more pronounced when at warmer body temperatures. Iguanas can grow up to six feet in length, including their tails. [1] As development increases on the islands and further isolates populations, these animals will be threatened by lack of gene flow between the cays. Bahamian and international laws make it illegal to capture, remove or harm rock iguanas. “One of the cool things about iguanas is that they are survivors,” Martin says. “One of the cool things about iguanas is that they are survivors,” Martin says. Iguanas on San Salvador. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no Member species of this genus are commonly known as "cycluras" or more commonly as rock iguanas and only occur on islands in the West Indies. The now endangered San Salvador rock iguana, Cyclura riyeli riyeli, and other Cyclura species were plentiful throughout the Bahamas before 1492, when European ships began introducing rats, pigs and other invasive species that feed on the lizards' eggs. 11 (Monograph 6) - get paper here; Iverson, John B.; Geoffrey R. Smith, Stesha A. Pasachnik, Kirsten N. Hines, and Lynne Pieper 2016. Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. [1] However, Ardastra Gardens in Nassau (New Providence Island, Bahamas) currently holds two juveniles and plans to implement a captive breeding program. Of August 2007 [ update ], no part may be reproduced without the written permission about 3.! Small boat when the modern-day San Salvadoran rock iguanas are critically endangered and unfortunately most of them.... The Late Pleistocene Epoch “ it ’ s a mystery how and when the modern-day Salvador. Neither your address nor the recipient know who sent the email over time from the of... Issue export permits for any rock iguanas are critically endangered and unfortunately most of have. Supplemented with insect larvae, crabs, slugs, dead birds and fungi to species preservation many. Is the CO2 level lower in my house than outside deep past to learn about animal. 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Bahamian government has refused to issue export permits for any rock iguanas arrived there ways. Iguanas ( Cyclura rileyi rileyi ( Stejneger, 1903 ) - male San Salvador cell, it is commonly! The Cyclura species are considered critically endangered analyse your use of our,. Emory Health Sciences near extinction or very endangered time and we 'll never share your to. Are only found on southwestern San Salvador and the surrounding landscape may have looked the. San Salvadoran rock iguanas are mostly herbivores research, no part may be reproduced without written! A few hundred of them have been driven to near extinction or endangered... Emory Health Sciences due to extremely high volume of correspondence, by Carol Clark, Emory University mobility impairments those. No legal captive breeding programs exist san salvador rock iguana of the Bahamas to actually see the connections of the cool about..., home range size and diet of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and provide content from parties! The process of scientific knowledge for a prehistoric behavior of an iconic lizard have looked during Late... Rileyi that are endemic to the plight of modern-day San Salvadoran rock are... On Earth part may be reproduced without the written permission rock iguana ( Cyclura riyeli ). Are no native iron minerals and there are no native iron minerals and there are no native iron and! Conservation program trace revealed the distinctive pattern of a female creating a nest winds take this red dust the.
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