Naturalist: Marine Iguana

Describe role: Darwin has observed species of very large marine iguanas on the islands of Galapagos that are very different from thoses he observed on the continent of South America. First, iguanas do not normally inhabit the water. The land iguanas on the islands did not exhibit this trait. He has asked you to collect as much information about these unusual iguanas as you can and organize this information in the form of a report your team will make to the Research Seminar. He would also like you to propose a reason why these reptiles are so different from their relatives on the mainland as well as their relatives on Galapagos. Why have they grown so large? Why do they swim? On this page you can see some drawings made by the ship's artist of these modern day dinosaurs.

Background Information: You are to follow the URL's provided below and read the information. From this information you are to prepare your report that you will present to the larger group.

Diving Dragons of Galapagos Marine Iguanas (photos slow to load). Great detail about the species with lots of photos.

Galapagos Marine Iguana photos

NSTA animal gallery...iguana

NSTA details on iguana

You may also refer back to the sites listed on the Process page for information from Darwin's Journal:

Voyage of the Beagle

Darwin's books The Origin of the Species and Voyage of the Beagle

Report: You are to present your report in the form of a research paper to the Research Group (which will be the rest of the class). You are encouraged to use visuals...overhead transparency, photographs, or photos from the web to present your informataion. Each member of your team should have part in the presentation. You should be well organized so that you can present your report withing 10-15 minutes. It is preferred that you not read the report but rather explain what you learned in your own words using an outline. Images from the Internet may be projected on our TV in our room if you have the URL.

You should include in the report: (A chart might be convenient to organize information.)

1. The common name as well as scientific name of the iguana(s).

2. A description of habitat, food sources, where located.

3. A list of characteristics that are unusual about that species.

4. A photograph or picture of the species. (This can be projected on our TV via a Web link.)

5. A proposal(s) for why these iguana are so different from their mainland relatives.

6. A proposal as to why the Marine Iguana is so different from the Land Iguanas on Galapagos.