Wild Fact #984 – The Ultimate Diet – Marine Iguanas


I have always had a fascination for the Galapagos Islands since this was the birth place of evolution.  Many animals that are capable to survive on those islands have adapted some unique characteristics to live in such a harsh environment.

Marine Iguanas are probably one of the most unique (in my opinion).  Not only are they capable of diving over 15 m (45′) to feed on algae but they can also change their size to adapt to their food requirements.  That’s right, if for some reason the food supply is reduced for a couple of years (i.e. algae growth is limited) then the marine iguana can shrink.  No, I am not just talking about the marine iguana losing weight because they joined Weight Watchers, their actual bones are able to decrease in size.  Impressive, eh! One study found that during the El Nino weather pattern the marine iguanas’ body decreased in size by almost 20%.  In a few years when the food returned so did their body size.  Just to relate this to humans, a drop in body size by 20% would be similar to a 6′ person shrinking to about 4′ 2″.  Imagine the implications to a pro basketball team during years of famine!

Did you enjoy this Wild Fact? Have you ever been to the Galapagos Islands? Do you have any pictures of the Galapagos?

3 Responses

  1. Bev Lawrence 8 years ago
    • Nathan Nathan 8 years ago
  2. margo 8 years ago

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