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Lava Lizard

There are seven endemic species of Lava Lizard (genus Microlophus, lagarto de lava) in the Galápagos. They are easily recognizable by their small size (up to 30 cm in length) and interesting coloring. Males and females of all species are wildly different. Males are up to three times heavier than females, have more patterned skin, and have a clearly visible black or yellow throat. Females, on the other hand, are smaller and have a bright red or orange throat.

Lava lizards can be seen darting about on most islands of the archipelago (often under your feet—watch out!). All lava lizards also perform a characteristic “push-up” behavior to show territorial aggression or courtship tendencies; interestingly enough, this display is a vivid example of character divergence among species, since each of the islands’ populations (even ones harboring the same species) have a slightly different display pattern.

Lava lizards are omnivorous and feed primarily on small insects, arthropods, and plant material. Activity is closely dependent on daily temperature fluctuations, so you will probably see most lava lizards during the cool morning and mid-afternoon hours.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: The Galapagos Sea Lion, Galapágos Penguin, Post Office Bay Visitor Site, Flightless Cormorant, Recommended Reading List, Marine Iguana, Galapagos Cruises: What's Included?, Ruddy Turnstone, The Waved Albatross and King Angelfish.

04 Jun 2007

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