Lava Lizard Facts | Galapagos Islands Wildlife Guide
Similar to Darwin’s finches, the seven species of lava lizards most likely evolved from one single ancestor millions of years ago. They are physically less spectacular than the iguanas, but they are the most abundant reptile on the islands and are frequently seen scurrying around.
- They can reach up to 1 foot in
length,but are usually about 5 to 6 inches
- The male is larger than the female and has a strong coloring of yellow, black and brown
- Females have bright red skin under their throats
- They have long, tapering tails and slim bodies
Range and Habitat
It is easy to separate the seven species of lava lizard by geographical distribution. One species occurs on the western and central islands, which were possibly connected during times of lower sea levels. And one species each occurs on the other six peripheral islands.
Behavior and Communication
Their most distinctive behavioral patterns are rapid head bobbing and push-up stances, which are performed in order to defend their territories and to assert dominance. They will also stand high on all fours and change color if they are threatened or if there is a temperature change. Scientists believe there are specific aggressive postures for each species, depending on which island they inhabit.
They are cold-blooded creatures and rely on the
Lava lizards are omnivores but dine mostly on insects. They eat spiders, moths, flies, beetles
Breeding and Reproduction
Males often mate with any female that passes through the male territory. Females lay three to six tiny eggs every month, which hatch after a 12-month incubation period. Females mature at nine months, and males mature after three years.
Lava lizard population sizes often depend on climate. During dry spells, populations decrease, and they will resort to eating seeds and sprouts.
Lava lizards are food for hawks, snakes, centipedes, mockingbirds
Header Credit: Chris Willis