A camera managed to capture magnificent footage off Cabo Marshall in the Galapagos Islands; a marine iguana can be seen walking under the ocean. The reptile is able to move without any difficulty, swimming with ease between the reefs. It even manages to stand on one of them to eat the seaweed that has clung to it.
Is this new footage from an upcoming Jurassic World film? No, it's even better because it is a sequence that is not fictional and is in fact very real. We’ll let you enjoy the spectacle but also give you some details on this marine iguana, an exceptional species.
A unique creature
The marine iguana is endemic to the Galapagos and unique within its species; it is the only marine lizard in the world. These reptiles whose appearance is reminiscent of prehistoric creatures seem to be one with the volcanic rocks which they run across with their short legs and ruthless claws. A bit like chameleons, they can change colour depending on the environment, black when they come out of the water and red while they languidly dry in the sun on the rocks.
The marine iguana is evolutionary
But how did the iguana end up on this archipelago in the Pacific Ocean? It perfectly embodies evolution. According to researchers, they arrived in the Galapagos from the mainland. They would have drifted by clinging to plants following the currents of the region for several hundred miles.
Few animals would have survived such a voyage, but they are not just any creature, they are quite robust. Their skin acts as an armour against the sun's rays and the salt of the water and they are able to do without food for a fortnight.
Forced to face the ocean, the marine iguana knew that it had to adapt to its new environment. It is about 5.5 feet long in adulthood and lives both on land and in water. It has some adaptations that it uses for marine life, especially the tail and fins, that other iguanas do not have. This proves that a swim never frightens them, as this video shows.
Strictly herbivorous, the marine iguana, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, is on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List in the ‘Vulnerable’ category.
Check out the video above to see the extraordinary footage for yourself!