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marine iguana

Gobble, gobble?

That's no turkey! Marine Iguanas — like this one photographed in the Galapagos Islands during the Costa Rica Upwelling Dome cruise in 2005 — are among the most unusual creatures in the Galapagos.  Herbivores, they feed exclusively on algae growing on rocks near the shore. Feeding dives usually last 5 to 10 minutes, although they can remain submerged for up to an hour. After diving in the Galapagos' cold waters, the cold-blooded iguanas restore  body heat by sunning themselves on the rocks adjacent to shore. Like many of the Galapagos animals, they are usually unfazed by humans and may be approached quite closely. The males, which are larger than the females, may grow to a length of 4 feet or more and are more brightly colored than the females, with hues of red and green on their backs. 
(Photo by Whitney Krey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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