Skip to content

To the Galápagos Islands

March 31, 2019

The next two weeks I’ll be away on a tour of the Galápagos islands. I’ve read and taught about the islands, including Vonnegut’s novel of that name, for the past twenty years. So it’s exciting to actually get there.

The islands have formed out of volcanic activity over the past eight million years; some are barely tens of thousands of years old. Volcanism continues today.  This image comes from a remarkable video, Wild Galápagos.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is volcano-sulfide.png

What is remarkable is the many intricate relationships between creatures that evolved over a short period of time.  Consider the fierce-looking lava iguana, an iguana that colonizes the harsh bare rocks of solidified lava.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iguanas.png

What do these fierce creatures eat?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iguana-eats-algae.png

The iguana grazes beneath the seawater on green algae, nourished by nutrient-rich currents from Antarctica. But then the algae must survive the powerful surf that could dash it against the rock. Remarkably, the iguana climbs back up.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lava-iguana.png

While they try to rest, the iguanas are bothered by flies. So they let smaller lava lizards climb up to hunt the flies.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lava-lizard.png

What about love? Everyone’s heard of the blue-footed boobies who will mate with whoever’s got the bluest feet at the moment.

But waved albatrosses pair for life, though they migrate apart across the ocean. They return to these islands to reunite. Here,  a pair of waved albatrosses rediscover each other after six months. My, are they excited!This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is waved-albatross-pair.png

They mate and raise a chick together–unless the wily mockingbirds get their egg first. A harsh existence, but fascinating.

One Comment
  1. Frank Branchini permalink
    March 31, 2019 11:22 am

    Have a fabulous time and safe travels.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: