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Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Only Lizard Found In The Sea

The Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is renowned as the only lizard found in the sea. Adult males are about 1.7 meters long and the females are about 0.6 – 1 meter long. It has long and sharp claws which allow it to cling onto rocks or any other materials around it when there are heavy currents. It´s skin is grey to black and scaly and it has a rigid of small spiky dorsal scales along its back and the upper edge of its laterally flattened tail.

Marine iguanas are found only around the shores of Galapagos Islands, where they feed almost exclusively on a type of seaweed which grows just below the low-tide mark. These creatures may look fierce to many people, but they are actually gentle herbivores. On land, marine iguanas are rather clumsy animals, but in water they are very good swimmers and take refuge in the sea when frightened, but they never swim far from the shore. Likewise, they never go more than 15 yards inland.The total population size is unknown, but estimate are in the hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately, they are under constant pressure from non-native predators such as rats, untamed cats, and dogs, who feed on their eggs and young. This species is completely protected under the laws of Ecuador, and is listed under CITES Appendix II.

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