Hanging out at the beach.

Do these fellows really do look like something out of a B grade movie?  ….SONS OF GODZILLA!!

The marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is found only on the Galapagos Islands and is unique among lizards in that it forages at sea for food.   The iguanas can dive to over 9 metres to feed on marine algae.    Found on all the islands in the archipelago,  there is considerable variation between the iguanas of different islands with adult males weighing up to 13 kilograms on the island of Isabela,  whilst not getting to more than 2 kilograms on Genovesa.

As interesting as they are,   they didn’t impress Charles Darwin who described them as “disgusting clumsy Lizards”!

Conservationists regard the marine iguana as “vulnerable” with several threats to its survival.    Threats include the impact of feral animals such as pigs, dogs, and cats interfering with nesting areas and the eggs of the iguanas.   Interestingly the presence of humans is also a threat due to the potential for the spread of bacteria to which the lizards have poor resistance.   The marine iguana evolved in an environment where it faced few predators and few bacteria and thus does not have a strong immune system.

A pair of marine iguanas on beach, Galapagos Islands
Marine Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs share the beach, Galapagos Islands