Marine Iguanas


The Galápagos Marine Iguana

The Galapagos Islands have a remarkable number of species found nowhere else on earth. Among their rare and unusual creatures is the Galápagos Marine Iguana, the only ocean-going lizard in the world.


What Makes Them Different

Marine iguanas have blunt snouts that make feeding on underwater algae easier.
They have evolved with a laterally flat tail that helps them swim.
Marine iguanas expel excess salt through a nasal gland. 
The dried salt gives older lizards a white patch on top of their head.


Marine Iguanas can hold their breath for up to thirty minutes.


Mature males typically dive for their food while females and young marine iguanas feed on algae exposed during low tide.


A mother iguana digs a nest for her eggs.

Conservation and Protection


The Galápagos are so isolated, even from one another, that marine iguanas have evolved into subspecies that are unique to specific islands. Scientists have identified at least thirteen different subspecies of this fascinating lizard.

Some subspecies are classified as endangered while all are considered vulnerable.

Today Ecuador laws completely protect the marine iguana, but serious concerns remain for the survival of this intriguing species.

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