Galapagos Island Marine Iguana

The animal kingdom’s only marine lizards inhabit the diverse landscape of the Galapagos Islands. Galapagos marine iguanas have developed unique physical characteristics, which allow them to thrive in this harsh environment. These features include strong limbs and claws to assist in clinging to rocks, laterally flattened tails to swim, blunt noses to graze on seaweed and other aquatic plants, and unique nasal glands used to excrete concentrated salt crystals. Despite the males being much larger than the females, they are very similar in appearance. As ectotherms, they rely on external heat sources. Feeding in the icy waters results in the iguana losing heat rapidly so they regularly leave the frigid waters to absorb heat from the sun. The mating period lasts three months, with breeding occurring once every two years. Females lay 1 to 6 eggs in sand or volcanic ash, with Incubation taking a total of 95 days. The young are independent once hatched.