Animals of Galápagos | Galapagos Unbound

Animals of Galápagos

GALÁPAGOS FAUNA: THE KOOKY, THE NATIVE, THE ADAPTED

Due to the relative isolation of the Galápagos Islands and its distance from the surrounding mainland continents, many mammals have not found their way to Galápagos shores—at least not naturally. Only 6 terrestrial mammal species are thought of as island ‘natives,’ though substantially more marine mammals call the Galápagos Marine Reserve home.

The Galápagos Marine Reserve extends over 133,00 square kilometers, making it the second largest marine reserve in the world. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001, and its conservation considers to be a top priority for the region as it supports the Galápagos Islands’ susceptible ecosystem.

Visit Punta Suarez, ESPANOLA, the area of Galápagos with the highest rate of endemic species on our Galápagos Island Cruise.

ADAPTIVE RADIATION

Galápagos fauna are as bizarre as they are beautiful—and sometimes the animal’s adaptive features are more eye-catching than the animals themselves. Multiple species of giant tortoises lumber slowly across fields of lava. Iguanas jump ship and plunge into the ocean. Finches flirt with their conspicuously changing beaks.

Galápagos fauna are genetic curiosities, all due to this thing called Adaptive radiation. Adaptive radiation refers to the diversification of a species’ lineage, and some of the best examples of adaptive radiation are Charles Darwin’s Galápagos finches. In comparison to adaptation, adaptive radiation refers to the diversification of a species’ lineage over a short period of time. During this process, newly formed biological lineages similarly evolve different adaptive characteristics. In the Galápagos, the forever-changing archipelago drove the further radiation of species such as finches and tortoises.