Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Ah, now these big boys are Lizards! Land iguanas can get as large as one meter long and weigh as much as 13 kg. The marine iguanas may be specialized for an ocean going lifestyle, but for some reason these lizards capture my interest more. Look at the scale patterns on the faces of the males in the photos below. I think they are just beautiful.
In the photo below you can see the marked sexual dimorphism between the male and females. The female is darker and smaller than the male.
There are two species of land iguanas endemic to the Galapagos. One species ( Conolophus pallidus) is only found on the island of Santa Fe, and the other, ( Conolophus subcristatus), is more widespread.
The adults eat the cactus pads of the Opuntia cactus, and juveniles eat insects, and even finch nestlings. The normal lifespan for these iguanas is over 60 years.
When Darwin arrived in 1835 he remarked that he had trouble pitching a tent because there were so many iguana burrows. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. There may be as many as 10,000 individuals of C. subcristatus left in the Galapagos. Introduced animals such as cats, dogs, rats, and pigs along with human activity have taken a toll on these large lizards.