Iguanas in the Galapagos: Here Come the Marines

FAMOUS AS LIZARDS THAT SWIM IN THE OCEANS, marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) are found in only one place: the Galapagos Archipelago in the eastern Pacific off Ecuador. Galapagos iguanas also include three species of non-swimming land iguanas. Some land iguanas found in the West Indies – like green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and rock iguanas (nine species in the genus Cyclura) – are also known to swim when called for, but not with the marine lifestyle of A.

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Snakes on the Reef! They Won’t Bother You. Probably.

IF THE IDEA OF MEETING UP WITH SEA SNAKES ON A DIVE UNSETTLES YOU, here are two important facts about sea snakes and sea kraits: 1) They’re armed with highly deadly venom, and 2) They’re remarkably unaggressive. That being said, here’s another important thing about these two groups of sea snakes: Don’t mess with them. All sea snakes are venomous snake-like reptiles, but in anatomy and lifestyle, there are two different kinds. So, what’s the

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In The Galapagos, Penguin Gender Can Be Told by Beak Size

IN CASE YOU EVER WANT TO ASK A PENGUIN FOR A DATE, researchers studying Galapagos penguins have found an easy way to tell males from females: Penguin gender can be judged by the fact that males have bigger beaks than females. I’m not sure what practical use this information has for most of us but it’s important for scientists doing field research on the little guys. And, it gives me a chance to post one

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Baleen Whales Are Just the Size they Ought to Be

 IN THE HUNTER/GATHERER EQUATION, FILTER-FEEDING BALEEN WHALES came down on the gathering side millions of years ago.  Gathering – in baleens’ case taking the form of filtering shrimp-like krill and other crustaceans, small fishes and phytoplankton out of the ocean waters with great baleen plates in place of teeth – has made them much more efficient feeders than their toothed cousins. A study by researchers at Stanford University suggests that the largest whales grew to

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The Penguin Selfie: Better Than Yours

WHAT’S MORE ADORABLE THAN PHOTOS OF TWO EMPEROR PENGUINS? A “selfie” video taken by the penguins themselves. Admittedly, I’m hardly the first to take it up – posted March 7th, it’s been featured on television news and print media around the world and the 38-second video has had more than 400,000 views – but, really, it’s irresistible. JUST HAPPENED TO BE TURNED ON  Basically, two curious emperor penguins – the noble species featured in the 2005

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For Galapagos’ Boobies, Love is Blue

ONE OF THE JOYS OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS are the blue-footed boobies. Not only are they goofy waddlers on land but they do a funny, slow-motion courtship dance. And they let you get right up in their beaks, so to speak. ACES IN THE AIR In the air and sea, they’re something else – daredevil flying machines that dive like kamikazes seeking a fishy smorgasbourd. HINT: THE BLUE COMES FROM THEIR DIET New York Times’

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