The marine iguana lives in the sea away from the other iguana that is dwelling on the land. It has its exclusive characteristics of being able to nourish in the sea water. It is prospering only on Galapagos Islands and is named after the island as Galapagos Marine iguana. It lives in its natural habitat in boulders on shores of the Galapagos Islands. These iguanas are also living in marshlands on beaches and mangrove.
Marine iguanas are said to be blackish in color and prospering on the sea. Normally, these are not black. Their young ones have a biaxial stripe and the fully grown marine iguanas have grayish color. They actually have a dull color. They have the advantage to absorb heat from sunrays when they come out of water because of this dark color and can keep themselves warm. They mostly eat marine algae. The excess salts are released by their body through their nasal glands when they go for sunbath. Their faces become whiter because of the salt in their bodies.
The color of male marine iguanas changes with the season. When it is the reproduction time, the adult males get a teal green or reddish color. The iguanas in the Santa Cruz appear black and brick red. The iguanas flourishing in Fernandina become brick red and dull green. The sizes of marine iguanas also vary from one island to another.
In Isabella and Fernandina, you can get the biggest marine iguanas of complete Galapagos Islands. There are smallest marine iguanas living in Genovesa.
Marine iguanas are classified as poikilothermic creatures. They can spend only a short time in cold water of sea when they dive in search of their algae food. They normally swim in the places in islands where the water is not deep. After swimming, they normally bask in the sun to warm up their bodies. In cold days they almost become immobile and easily fall prey to the marauders. They can move only slowly and they strike the invaders with their tails and bite the predators. When their breeding season comes, the male will mate with females and guard them against other males.
Marine iguanas maintain their number and sizes according to the availability of food. When algae had decreased at the time of onset of El Nio, the marine iguanas also decreased in their length. When the food was available again they regained their sizes to normal. The marine iguanas are not as active as the other species of iguanas. If you keep them pet, cat and dogs will attack them and they cannot save themselves.
As of date the Ecuador’s government has imposed laws aiming to save marine iguanas from extinction. Artificial nesting sites have been created on the smaller islands in order to reduce predators that may harm them.