Galapagos Lava Lizards

August 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

These colorful small creatures are the most abundant reptile in the Galapagos Islands.  Living on most of the main islands there are seven different subspecies all endemic to the islands, yet each island has only one type. Ranging from black with gold stripes to greyish yellow to speckled copper the Galapagos Lava Lizards have a different appearance based both on where they are from and their sex.  The Lava Lizards which live primarily on the lava will have a darker appearance while those living on a beach will have a lighter appearance allowing them to
blend more easily into the environment, providing a natural protective camouflage. Lava Lizards also have the ability to change colors if they are threatened or if there is a change in temperature.

Feeding on moths, flies, beetles, ants, spiders, grasshoppers and some plants the Galapagos Lava Lizard plays a significant role in the control
of the insect population of the islands. Like the Galapagos Iguanas and other reptiles, the lava lizard relies on the sun’s heat for their own internal heat.  The lava lizards begin their day basking on a warm rock before going out hunting.  They spend the heat of the day in a shady spot and become active in the late afternoon when the temperatures begin to cool.

Male Lava Lizards make take up to three mates in their harem.  The Lizards are extremely territorial and can be seen on top of rocks doing what looks to be a “push-up” or bobbing their heads up and down.  This behavior is to indicate ownership and becomes more prevalent between July and November during mating season.

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