ClassificationKingdom: Animalia (animal)Phylum: Chordata (chordate animals)Subphylum: Vertebrata (vertebrate animals)Class: Reptilia (reptile)Order: Squamata (large horny scales)Family: Iguanidae (new world lizards)Species: Amblyrhynchus cristatus (marine iguana)
Description This lizard is a completely harmless animalthat needs a marine environment to survive.The females are a grey to black color, and the males may have a reddish color to them. Their dorsal scales are pyramid shaped, they have a short, blunt nose, and a compressed tail. They have special glands on their head, which removes the extra salt that has been ingested while feeding. This is whythere is usually a white mark on the top of its head.
RegionThe Galapagos Islandsare inhabited by thisiguana. It’s thought thatland iguanas from SouthAmerica somehow gottransported to these islands, and they had toadapt to the marine environment, changingthem into what they are today.
GrowthThe males are typically larger than thefemales, but not by much. They averagearound 4-5 feet long, but almost half of that length is tail.
ReproductionThese animals reproduce sexually. During the annual three month mating season, the male protects the mating territories. Females lay 1- 6 eggs in a burrow dug into the sand or volcanic ash on the ground. Females guard their nest for a few days, but then leave for the final 95 days of incubation.
The marine iguana is a vertebrateanimal, so it has a backbone. Theybreathe through lungs, but can holdtheir breath for about five minutes toget their food from the bottom of theocean. They have razor sharpteeth, a somewhat flat tail, and long, sharp claws.Organization
Response Marine iguanas need to live by salt water to survive, and by sand to lay its eggs. It needs to go to the bottom of the ocean for food, and because the ocean waters are so cold, it needs tobask in the sun for a long time to get its body heat back to normal.
Meeting Their NeedsThese creatures eat green and red algae offof the rocks at the bottom of the ocean. Theblunt noses and the razor sharp teeth on this animal help it to better scrape the off the algae for them to eat. The laterally flattened tail on these iguanas allow them to move underwater like a crocodile. The long, sharpclaws keeps them attached to rocks in strong currents and to rocks on shore.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO_9zm9tsCs
Compare and ContrastThis animal is different from all other lizardsbecause of its ability and need to be in water.This is an important adaptation, since it lives in a marine environment with no access to other land. It is the same, though, because even though the reproduction and organization may be slightly different, it’s something that all reptiles share. It has a better structured body thaninvertebrates, which also has many benefits.