Marine Iguanas on the Galápagos Islands

marine iguanas underwater

The Marine Iguanas look like some monstrous creatures. Their skin has a coarse, tarnished and rustic appearance. And their physical being primitive and crude. The descendants of an extinct species they could be perhaps? How about a dragon minus the spitting fire? Alright, let’s not get carried away with the latter. The truth is, the Marine Iguanas is unsightly and scary to look at to some people. Charles Darwin describe them as “hideous-looking” and “most disgusting, clumsy lizards.”

Surprisingly, the Marine Iguanas are actually gentle darlings. And they have no fear of people and do not run and hide when approached. In fact, they just carry on as if they see humans as another form of wildlife on the islands. The Galápagos Islands is the only place in the world where these iguanas are known to live. And here they do strive. They adapted well to this environment and have done so for centuries.

Video showing Marine Iguanas in the Galápagos Islands.

Each island has its own unique population of Marine Iguanas base on sizes, colors, and some other distinguishable features. Their colors range from black to either gray, red or green as they mature. They are vegetarians and feed primarily on algae and seaweed under water. Researchers have noted that when food is scare the iguanas grow shorter but do not get thinner as is the norm with most living things. When there is a great degree of food supply, the iguanas go back to their normally longer body length.

Scientists who studied Marine Iguanas found that these species possibly originated from Land Iguanas. Over millions of years ago, the iguanas reached the islands after drifting in from the mainland. Some of these castaways adapted to the land and others to the ocean. However, Marine Iguanas do visit the dry land often to be warmed up by the sun, mate and nest.


Article by: Gayle Michele, L’ EcoResorts.