Galapagos Marine Iguanas

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Espanola Marine Iguana

The Galapagos Islands are home to a number of endemic wildlife – wildlife found nowhere else in the world. Species include the iconic Galapagos Tortoise and Darwin Finches to Galapagos Mockingbirds and the Galapagos Sea Lion and Flightless Cormorant.

One of the more interesting endemic creatures is the Marine Iguana. These new world lizards are the only sea going iguanas in the world feeding on sea weed and algae. Marine Iguanas can be seen on most islands huddled together in groups for warmth. Their scaling black skin creates a perfect camouflage with the lava rocks along the shore.

They have special glands between their eyes and nostrils that collect and remove salt. The salt gathers in the nostril, and the iguanas sneeze it out periodically spraying the salty water into the air.

Though marine iguanas vary in size and color on each of the islands the most striking are those on Española.   Adult male Española Marine Iguanas are brightly colored with a reddish tint except during mating season when their color changes to more of a greenish shade.  The best time of year to see these Christmas colored iguanas is between December and February.

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