Marine Iguanas

More about Marine Iguanas

The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large … most disgusting, clumsy Lizards. They are as black as the porous rocks over which they crawl & seek their prey from the Sea. — Somebody calls them “imps of darkness”

Charles Darwin, 17 September 1835

The marine iguana also known as the sea iguana, saltwater iguana, or Galápagos marine iguana, is a species of iguana found only on the Galápagos Islands that has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to forage in the sea, making it a marine reptile.

This iguana feeds almost exclusively on algae, and large males dive to find this food source, while females and smaller males feed during low tide in the intertidal zone.

The “sneeze out” excess salt their body collects while underwater through a nasal gland.

It is believed that around 4.5 million years ago, marine iguanas evolved from land iguanas that were brought to the Galapagos and adapted to a sea-faring life in order to survive on the islands.


My Take

While Charles Darwin might have considered them as ‘imps of darkness’, I must say that while they may not win awards in the looks department, they are nevertheless very beautiful creatures who have adapted really well in the Galapagos. It is a testament to evolution: How a land lizard over millions of years of evolution became a marine reptile that adapted to the conditions by sneezing out salt. Just remarkable!

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