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Galapagos Lava Lizard

There are seven endemic species of Lava Lizard 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.

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.



Common local language name:

Scientific Name(s):
genus Microlophus



Ecological status:
Least Concern

Where to See (Distribution, Range):
Lava lizards can be seen darting about on most islands of the archipelago (often under your feet—watch out!).

Beach, Green Highlands, Rocky Trails, Towns

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Galapagos Snake, Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Land Iguana, Galapagos Pink Iguana, Galapagos Marine Iguana and Green Sea Turtle.

05 May 2010

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