Eye of the dragon
Marine iguanas have powerful claws that allow them to cling onto the lava rocks where they live and feed.
These are the only marine lizards in the world and can hold their breath up to an hour underwater.
Since they are cold blooded, they spent a lot of time basking in the sun, especially after swimming.
To cope with this high-salt diet, the marine iguanas snort the excess of salt through their nostrils.
These social animals can be seen in large colonies of hundreds to thousands of individuals all around the archipelago. The biggest colony can be found in Fernandina and the smallest breed in Genovesa.
Marine iguanas feed on seaweed that they forage in the sea or in the intertidal zone, especially females and juveniles which can be vulnerable to rough currents.
In these harsh volcanic conditions, lava rocks provide excellent shelters from predators.
Juveniles rely heavily on their skin colour for camouflage. Blending in with the surroundings is essential to their survival and to avoid being preyed upon by Galapagos Hawks.
During mating season, male marine iguanas, change skin colour from black to vibrant reds and greens. The most colourful specimens can be found in Española and Floreana island.
During harsh El Niño years, marine iguana populations are threatened by starvation. The warming temperatures of the water causes the proliferation of an invasive brown algae species that the marine iguana can't digest. However, to increase their likelihood of survival, these incredibly adaptable animals are capable of shrinking their body size up to 25%!
Sunset provided the opportunity of soaking up the last rays of sun.
This unusual iguana is a hybrid between a terrestrial and a marine iguana. They are extremely rare in the Galapagos as both species almost never get in contact. There is only a handful specimens and this one was found feeding on the placenta of a newborn sea lion! I was surprise considering both original species are vegetarian.
It is time for individuals to get back with the colony and cuddle to keep warm through the night.