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Galapagos land iguana

The Galapagos land iguana, an important ecosystem engineer
© Enzo Reyes

Common name:

Galapagos land iguana

Scientific name:

Conolophus subcristatus

Spanish name:

Iguana terrestre de las Galápagos

Conservation status:



Average lifespan:

55 years

Average size:

1 metre

Maximum size:

1.5 metres

Maximum weight:

11.5 kilograms


The Galapagos land iguana is one of three species of land iguana endemic to the Galapagos Islands (the others being the Santa Fe land iguana and the Galapagos pink land iguana). Their skin is generally yellow with white, black and brown blotches. They have a short head and powerful hind legs with sharp claws on their toes, but despite their intimidating appearance they are primarily herbivores, feeding on prickly pear leaves and fruit. These large cold-blooded reptiles have a mutualistic relationship with finches, which can often be seen sitting on their backs, picking ticks from between their scales. The population of land iguanas has undergone a severe decline over the last 150 years and, until 2019, they were locally extinct on Santiago island.

Galapagos land iguanas in Galapagos

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