imps of darkness

Grooved teeth act like rakes. They scrape food off rocks.

Black scales absorb heat.

Sharp claws help with climbing and holding on to rocks.

 A short nose makes eating easier.

Marine iguanas surprised some of the islands’ earliest visitors. When explorer Charles Darwin first saw them, he thought they were ugly. He called them “imps of darkness.”

They are the only lizards in the world that can live and eat at sea. They live only here. Scientists believe that they came from land iguanas. To survive, they could not stay the same. Over time, their bodies changed.

Back spines help with balance.

Webbed feet help it swim.

Salty Sneezes

Marine iguanas swallow saltwater with their food. That’s too much salt. So, they sneeze the salt out!

Looking for Heat 

Marine iguanas need help to stay warm. They need the sun. If you read last month’s edition of Explorer magazine, you’ll know the word for this. It’s called an ectotherm. That’s a cold‑blooded animal.