conolophus subcristatus

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Galapagos Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus)

…a species of iguana endemic to the Galapagos Islands, specifically the islands of Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Baltra and South Plaza. Galapagos land iguanas are active during the day and are often seen basking in the sun to maintain their body temperatures.  At night they will retreat to burrows. They are also omnivores and have a diet of plants, cactus fruits, and small invertebrates.  They also have a relationship with the famous Galapagos finches which they will allow to remove ticks from their bodies.

Males are highly territorial and will defend their territories from other males with head bobbing and tail thrashing displays. During the breeding season males will seek out and ‘aggressively’ court females. After mating females will embark on a migration to find a suitable egg-laying area, some females will travel miles on these journeys.  

Currently the Galapagos land iguana is listed as Vulnerable, this is thought to be due to introduced competition and predators (like goats, dogs and cats).

Phylogeny

Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Squamata-Iguanidae-Conolophus-C.subcristatus

Images: Jimrules42 and Benjamint444