Sunday, February 01, 2009

Galapagos: 'Imps of Darkness'

The Marine Iguana is only found on the Galapagos Islands so I felt very privileged to meet them! They look so prehistoric and are a pretty scary sight, Charles Darwin himself on first encountering them wrote:

The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large (2-3 ft), disgusting clumsy Lizards. They are as black as the porous rocks over which they crawl & seek their prey from the Sea. I call them 'imps of darkness'. They assuredly well become the land they inhabit.

These 'imps of darkness' warm up on the lava rocks all day to create enough heat to plunge themselves into the sea to swim to their daily supply of marine algae. I was so shocked to encounter one whilst actually in the sea that I didn't get a was like having a dinosaur swimming towards you!

1 comment:

Zuri said...

The Marine Iguana of Galapagos lives on rocky coasts, feeding on seaweed, and can remain underwater for up to 45 minutes.

The scientific name of the marine iguana is Amblyrhynchus cristatus.

The name is derived from the characteristically blunt snout, which allows the marine iguana to scrape algae off of the rocks with their razor sharp, three-cusped teeth.

The Galapagos Marine Iguana is the only "sea-going lizard" in the world.