Marine Iguana

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Marine Iguana

 

(Amblyrhynchus cristatus) a reptile of the family Iguanidae. The body length of the male measures up to 140 cm; the females are much smaller. The head is rounded, and the trunk massive. The tail is laterally compressed and resembles an oar. The digits are joined by a short web. There is a crest of elongated, sharp scales along the back and tail. The color of the male is usually dark brown, gray, or brown-red on top and yellowish brown below; the females are lighter. The marine iguana, along with the Galapagos land iguana, the great land tortoise, and some other reptiles, is indigenous to the Galapagos Islands. It inhabits the rocky (basaltic) shores close to the tide line. The reptile spends a considerable time in the water, since it swims easily and rapidly. Its food consists of marine algae. The marine iguana is the only extant lizard that obtains its food in the sea. The female deposits one to three eggs in a burrow. Polygamy is characteristic of marine iguanas. During the reproductive period, which is in January, the animals settle in convenient areas of the shore in small groups of two to ten adult females, a number of young individuals, and one male, who does not allow the intrusion of other males into his area.

I. S. DAREVSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
6 NATURE, he and Corinna Thom of the University of Wurzburg in Germany describe observations of some 6,000 Amblyrhynchus cristatus during four El Ninos.