There aren’t many animals out there with a better name than the Lava Lizard.
Seriously, try and think of a cooler named animal…I bet you can’t!
Visit the Galapagos Islands and you’ll undoubtedly come across these skittish little creatures. While not unique to the Galapagos (Lava lizards are common to other destinations, in particular Peru), there are nine Lava Lizard species that are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. As with the birds, tortoises and larger iguanas; the lava lizards have evolved on each island to be genetically unique.
That’s one of those oddly interesting things about the Galapagos. You can sail to a different island in a couple of hours and see similar-looking animals, but their size, colour and habits will be slightly different – unique – from their relatives found on the other islands.
Some Galapagos Lava Lizards are brightly coloured, others are quite dull. (Females are often bright red in colour, males are dull grey or brown). Different islands have different sized Lava Lizards too, but they’re all pretty similar. I tried to challenge myself to find as many different species as I could on the islands, I spotted Lava Lizards on Espanola, Floreana, Bartolome, Sombrero Chino, South Plaza, San Cristobal and Isabela Islands.
I captured decent photos of four different species, each pictured in this article, which help show the different shapes, colours and sizes of these lizards.
Unfortunately some of them were too elusive for the camera, so my photos of them are just tails, or specks too far away. I also failed in spotting any Lava Lizards breathing through their eyelids. Sadly that seems to be a myth from the classic baseball movie Bull Durham. Lava Lizards breathe through their nostrils. (Click on the Espanola or San Cristobal photos and you should see their nostrils.)