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 ?
Molecular evidence suggests that the continental ancestors of the marine iguana may have arrived on presently submerged volcanoes as much as 10 million years ago (Rassmann, Tautz, Trillmich, & Gliddon, 1997).
The marine iguana is in photo #2 and the land iguana is in photo #1.
Therefore, it might be argued that the different body sizes of marine iguana island populations are not sufficiently explained by pure phenotypic plasticity.
Within an island, the larger a marine iguana, the more it suffered from declining foraging efficiency.
The reaction to the Marine Iguana sequence has been quite remarkable; I would never have guessed that people would be shouting and cheering at their televisions as a small reptile ran furiously away from a bunch of snakes
Prehistoric marine iguanas, which he dubbed "Imps of Darkness", lounged about in the warm sun, occasionally sneezing white crystals from their nasal salt glands, while slithery (and often smelly) sea lions basked on the beach.
In the last couple of years scientists have realized that marine iguanas are doing something once thought impossible in the natural world: When their food source is particularly low, the animals shrink, sometimes as much as 20 percent of their body length.
Marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands are the first vertebrates shown to shorten and then regrow, say researchers in the United States and Germany.
The marine iguana, for example, not only has eagle-sharp claws for clinging to rocks but can swim 12 metres underwater for an hour on a single breath.
Cormorants, marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions and the famous Darwinian finches and giant tortoises are among the archipelagos iconic species.
The picturesque journey took the scientists past sea turtles and white beaches where black marine iguanas sun themselves while enormous pelicans soared overhead, before their small boat wound its way down a narrow channel between the mangroves to a shallow, rocky pool.

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