Marine Iguana

Adult marine iguanas vary in size depending on the size of the island where they live.
Marine Iguana Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Amblyrhynchus cristatus
Marine Iguana Physical Characteristics
60 years
Top speed
24 mph
1kg-75kg (2.2lbs-165lbs)
Marine Iguana Distribition

Marine iguanas are the only lizards in the world to hang out in the sea.

Marine iguanas survive the Galápagos Islands, where they eat on Inter- and subtidal algae. They have numerous details adjustments, consisting of sneezing salt out of their bodies, permitting them to reside in this setting. Marine iguanas residing on San Cristóbal, Santiago, and Genovesa Island are thought about endangered while all various other populaces are thought about vulnerable. The marine iguanas residing on bigger islands expand longer than those residing on smaller sized islands. Researchers have actually likewise observed that they can reduce their body dimension by around 20% based upon food accessibility realities.

5 Extraordinary Marine Iguana Truths!

  • Marine iguanas live just in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Marine iguanas are the only species of lizards understood to hang out in the sea.
  • Marine iguanas eat on algae and algae.
  • Marine iguanas lay prompt rough coastlines.
  • Marine iguanas just protect their nests if they assume the eggs might roll away.

You can look into even more extraordinary realities regarding marine iguanas.

Marine Iguana Scientific Name

The scientific name for marine iguanas is Amblyrhynchus cristatus The initial component of this scientific name originates from the Greek language, where Ambly indicates candid and rhynchus indicates nose. The 2nd component of the scientific name originates from the Latin language, where cristatus indicates crested.

There are 11 subspecies of marine iguanas, consisting of:

  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus cristatus— These marine iguanas survive Isabela and Fernandina islands.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus godzilla— These marine iguanas live along the northwestern coastline of San Cristóbal Island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus hassi— These marine iguanas survive Santa Cruz Island and tiny nearby islands.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus hayampi— These marine iguanas survive Marchena Island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus jeffreysi – Wolf and Darwin islands and Roca Redonda island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus mertensi— Southwestern coastline of San Cristobal Island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus garman— These marine iguanas survive Genovesa Island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus sielmanni— These marine iguanas survive Pinta Island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus trillmichi— These marine iguanas survive Santa Fe Island.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus venustissimus— These marine iguanas survive Española, Garden enthusiast and Floreana islands.
  • Amblyrhynchus cristatus wikelskii These marine iguanas survive Santiago, Rábida, and smaller sized neighboring islands.

Lots of professionals have actually contemplated the beginning of these reptiles. They question their development as there are food resources ashore that they think these iguanas might eat, like their land iguana equivalents. The development split in between the land and marine iguanas most likely happened over 5.7 million years earlier. Researchers likewise think that much of the development might have occurred at a remote place which the marine iguanas rafted to the Galápagos Islands.

Marine Iguana Appearance

The appearance of these iguanas differ by the subspecies, however all have some usual attributes, such as having spinal columns that begin at their neck and proceed with their tails. These deep sea lizards have actually thickset bodies and brief arm or legs. While they frequently have difficulty navigating ashore, their physique is perfect for swimming.

All marine lizards are dark- tinted. This adjustment permits them to heat up much faster in the sunlight after going back to the land from feeding in the sea. Each marine lizard likewise has a level tail. This adjustment assists them relocate with the water much better. Each likewise has lengthy claws, permitting it to keep rough surface areas much better. As their name recommends, these iguanas have brief noes, assisting them to feed much better.

Those marine lizards residing on Northern Galápagos Islands are largely black while subspecies residing on Southern Galápagos Islands have much more color variant. Males are much more vibrant than females. In addition, males end up being much more vibrantly tinted throughout the reproducing period.

A Few Of one of the most vibrant marine lizards survive Española, Garden Enthusiast, and Floreana islands have a red dorsal history with a blue-green vertebral red stripe. An additional really vibrant subspecies survives on Española and Floreana islands. These lizards have huge black dots on a light orange history and an olive/grey vertebral large red stripe. Those from Marchena or Isabela islands have a tabby pattern.

There is likewise a great deal of variant in the dimension of these iguanas. Usually, researchers split them right into 3 dimension groups. Like those residing on Isabela, Tortuga, Fernandina islands, huge iguanas are in between 14- and- 19- inches long. There are likewise tool- sized marine iguanas, like those residing on Española, Gardner, Floreana, Champ islands, which are in between 10- and- 14- inches long. The tiniest ones are the ones residing on Genovesa Island, and they have to do with 8- inches long. Usually, bigger dimension iguanas have much more famous spinal columns.

Colorful adult male marine iguana basking on volcanic rock.
Vibrant grown-up male marine iguana basking on volcanic rock.Steve Cymro/

Marine Iguanas Actions

These iguanas are the only lizard that consumes in the sea. This reptile will certainly eat daily, with males going additionally offshore than females and juveniles remaining really near to coast. After a deep sea iguana feeds, after that it needs to reset its heart price and body temperature level since it has no inner body organs controling these features. Consequently, it squashes its body versus lava rocks, creating vessels in the breast to open up and shut till the iguana gets to the ideal temperature level for the gastrointestinal system to function properly.

Marine Iguana Environment

The only environment of these iguanas remains in the Galápagos Islands. They like an environment with superficial coral reefs within a location where the water gets to throughout high trend. They likewise live along rough coasts that are 6.5- to- 16 feet over water level.

If you most likely to the Galapagos Islands, search for them in locations that have sand or an additional soft material as that is where they lay their eggs. Normally, they survive southerly coastlines since there is even more wave activity, which usually indicates even more algae to eat.

Marine Iguana Diet

Galápagos iguanas diet virtually solely on marine algae. There go to the very least 9 various sorts of algae that they like. If they can not obtain adequate algae, they will seldom eat grasshoppers, shellfishes, and sea lion afterbirth. These reptiles likewise can reduce their body dimension when their favored diet is not readily available. The algae that they eat can be difficult to locate throughout the El Nino durations on the Galapagos Islands.

Marine Iguana Reproduction and Life Process

Female Galápagos iguanas get to sex-related maturation when they have to do with 4 years of ages, however males wait till they have to do with 7 years of ages.

The reproducing period lasts from December with March. Males transform a brighter shade throughout this reproduction duration, however researchers do not think that there is a relationship in between breeding success and the shade adjustment, like there remains in several frog species.

When a male sees a female he has an interest in, he will certainly begin responding his head and relocating laterally in the direction of her. The female can relocate away any time throughout the reproduction circumstance, and the courtship routine finishes. If the male obtains close sufficient, he begins scrubing his direct and down the female’s tail. Presuming the female allows him, after that the male will certainly utilize his tail to place the female.

Regarding a month after the act takes place, after that the female will certainly take a trip from 65 feet to 2 miles away to a sandy location. As soon as she discovers the ideal place, after that she will certainly begin responding her head. If an additional deep sea iguana does not object, she will certainly invest regarding 4 hrs excavating an opening and transferring in between one and 4 eggs in it. After that, the female invests about 16 days protecting her eggs prior to leaving the website.

If the female can not locate a sandy place to dig her nest, she will certainly still lay her eggs. She will, nevertheless, remain at the website to protect the eggs.

Incubation happens in between 89 and 120 days. As soon as the eggs hatch out, the infants quickly scuttle to a hole or various other location to remain concealed for a couple of days. While grown-up marine iguanas have really couple of opponents, it is very easy for predators to nab the eggs. It is likewise very easy for opponents to record baby iguanas. Although opponents might attempt to obtain them, child iguanas have to quickly enter the water to feed as there is nobody to feed them.

Galápagos iguanas can live 60 years in the wild.

Marine Iguana Population

Researchers approximate that there have to do with 250,000 of these iguanas.


  1. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Available here:
  2. Galapagos Conservancy, Available here:
  3. New Scientist, Available here:
  4. Quasar, Available here:
  5. Animal Diversity Web, Available here:
  6. San Francisco State University Department of Geography, Available here:
  7. Huff Post, Available here:

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