Wonder in the Waves: The Galapagos Marine Wildlife

115 views This article is copyright free and is published in Travel Tips » Travel
Joined: Sep 02, 2016
3115 articles
Located around 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago has been called its own "world within a world", and it's an apt description. This remote and beautiful part of the planet is home to some of the most unique wildlife species on the planet, many of which are endemic. But while we often focus on the terrestrial species, those that live in the oceans that surround the islands are every bit as fascinating and – for wildlife watchers who visit on a Galapagos wildlife cruise – just as exciting to encounter.

The Marine Species of the Archipelago

Nowhere else can you encounter such a diverse variety of endemic marine life as accessibly as here. 20% of Galapagos’ species cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and even pelagic species like hammerhead sharks and manta rays venture quite close to shore. This diversity of life is supported through a range of habitats, including coral reefs, beaches, lagoons, salt flats and the open ocean.

Three of the most sought-after sightings on a Galapagos wildlife cruise are the Sea Lions, the Galapagos Penguins and the Marine Iguanas.

Sea Lions: The endemic Zalophus wollebaeki can be seen everywhere around the archipelago. While they appear clumsy and oafish as they waddle along the beaches or over rocks, they are transformed into torpedoes once they get in the water, and are able to dart and dive with killer precision. Like the majority of the terrestrial wildlife, the Sea Lions are not afraid of humans and will often swim in the shallow waters, happy to venture quite close to snorkelers. Visitors are asked to keep their distance, however, and fully-grown males have been known to show aggression.

Penguins: The endemic Galapagos Penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus, is the most northerly species of penguin and, in fact, the only one found north of the Equator.They have numerous adaptations that enable them to tolerate the warm waters of the archipelago. They are smaller than their southern counterparts (growing to a height of around 49 cm) and are distinguished by a relatively large bill and a thin white line around their faces. Even though there is only a population of around 1500 in total (they're classified as endangered), they can quite often be seen playing in the shallow waters, particularly around Bartolomé, Fernandina and Isabela islands.

Marine Iguanas: These prehistoric-looking endemic creatures are the world's only marine lizards. Amblyrhynchus cristatus can grow to more than a metre in length, and – thanks to the naturalist Charles Darwin – their other claim to fame is the label of "the most disgusting-looking lizard in the world". Despite their rather plain appearance, they have developed incredible ecological adaptations in order to survive in their marine habitat, including blunted noses to aid in scraping algae off underwater rocks, and a flattened tail that allows them to dive and propel themselves through the water.

Encounter the Marine Species on a Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

Three major currents come together in the waters surrounding this remote and beautiful archipelago, creating a completely unique environment where vastly different marine species co-exist unlike anywhere else on Earth.
About author: Desiree Michels

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in the Galapagos Islands. For those interested in a Galapagos wildlife cruise, Marissa recommends theitineraries organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of species in one of the most spectacular regions on Earth.


Other article from Travel

Night Birds of the Galapagos Islands
For nature lovers, Galapagos holidays provide the opportunity to view some of the most fascinating wildlife on the planet. Among the most anticipated of all the species are the birds of the archipelago, and their abundance and fearlessness make for some very ...
View by 94 people
Posted by Desiree Michels in ,
A Wildlife Cruise in Galapagos: The Ultimate in Nature Travel
For nature lovers, the opportunity to encounter the world's wildlife in its natural habitat has never been more accessible. The popularity of ecotourism, with a primary focus on the appreciation and conservation of our fragile natural environments, affords ...
View by 152 people
Posted by Desiree Michels in ,
Car rentals to make your airport journey affordable and comfortable in Maui!
Waiting for the taxi to arrive at the airport or booking a car at very high rates on the airport is like an everyday routine. Travelers have the worst of time leaving to or from the airport as it is the airport where the car rentals and taxi fares are at the ...
View by 77 people
Posted by Vikram kumar in ,
Hoomeo Offers the Best Facility to Book Vacation Rentals in Paris Online
(December 13, 2017) – Location de vacances Paris, which means vacation rentals Paris should be selected with the utmost care to make the days in Paris the most unforgettable. This is where tour makers can get the best help from Hoomeo, which is an ...
View by 178 people
Posted by Sumanta Dutta in ,
Discover the Benefits of a Sports Residential for Your Team
As a teacher or youth coach, sometimes you can have a group of excellent individual players but for some reason they don’t become a ‘team’. Other times you can watch players struggle to fulfil the potential you know they have. One of the ...
View by 148 people
Posted by Desiree Michels in ,