Marine Iguana Facts
- Most notably, the truly remarkable Marine Iguana constitutes a very special type of reptile. This holds true because, to our knowledge, it remains the only lizard in the world able to live and forage in the ocean.
- This, therefore, makes it presently the only known marine reptile on earth. Plus, look at this face. Does it remind you of Khaleesi’s dragons in Game of Thrones? One might almost believe that the animal is a distant cousin.
- Adding to its dragon resemblance, is yet another remarkable factor. This astonishing creature primarily dwells on the rugged shore. However, individuals will also sometimes visit marshes and mangrove beaches.
- Finally, the Marine Iguana truly separates itself from other lizards in a remarkable way. That’s because this magnificent reptile evolved as entirely herbivorous. Further, it feeds exclusively almost on underwater seaweed.
Marine Iguana Physical Description
First of all, in color, the Marine Iguana generally presents various shades of gray or black. But, the creature also displays yet another unusual trait. Adult males of this animal vary in color with the seasons. In fact, these males become brighter in color during breeding season, to attract females.
In addition, the unique animal actually varies in average size from island to island, within its range. Further, this remarkable trait truly remains unique. However, a general average size for mature adults measures roughly 5.6 ft (1.7 m) in length and 26 lbs (12 kg) in total weight.
Furthermore, the fascinating animal has remarkably sharp teeth for a herbivore. It also evolved a rather flat snout. Finally, it even has a one-of-a-kind nasal gland. This serves to filter excess salt, which it expels through its nostrils.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Varanidae
- Genus: Varanus
- Species: V. komodoensis
Marine Iguana Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the truly bizarre seeming Marine Iguana actually exists in the wild only on the Galapagos Islands, themselves a marvel of Nature. While not physically connected, of course, these sites form part of the country of Ecuador, in South America.
Also, as a herbivore, its flat snout and sharp teeth allow it to feed on algae growing on rocks when it so chooses. The fascinating animal also has the ability to dive to depths as great as 30 feet (10 m).
Additionally, after diving in the rather cold water to feed, it will bask in the sun on the rocky shoreline for long. But, at this time, it becomes extremely defensive. As a result, it frequently strikes at any approaching creature.
Finally, during breeding season the males assemble large herds of females. These the male aggressively guards from rivals. Violent encounters at this point are rare, however. Typically, such fights consist of no more than head-bobbing and head-butting.