Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) - Santiago island, Galapagos National Park, Ecuador
Still lots to come from the Galapagos including many many photos of marine iguanas. one of the most interesting & unique lizards! This was one of the very first marine iguanas I photographed and the first one I got to spend an extended photo session with. It was basking on these rocks which as you can see were covered with pelican poop! I slowly edged closer to the iguana, who never reacted to my presence, until I could get this wide angle shot showing off Bartolomé Island in the background as well as some of the boats including (I think) the one we came in on. After the photoshoot I smelled like pelican poop but I was happy to get some of these photos, and the ocean was right there to wash off in. This was taken on Santiago island which makes this the A. c. mertensi subspecies of the marine iguana. This particular subspecies is listed as endangered while the others are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. This subspecie is listed as endangered due to a high amount of habitat contamination from a oil spill many years ago, populations remain lower than that of other subspecies. El Nino is well documented to drastically reduce populations of this and all the other subspecies as well, this year is an El Nino year, hoping this one and others like it are faring well despite that.