These ‘common’ Galapagos animals will leave you breathless! (Part II)
Did you enjoy Part I? Get ready, because Part II will be even weirder. Here we will show you the three most particular animals in Galapagos and what makes them so special.
Weird animals are all around the world, but there are some ones that deserve a prize. And in Galapagos Islands, the theory of Evolution is more than proved: some of the animals that moved to this island many centuries ago, had to adapt in incredible ways that only could be understood if we see ourselves and our evolution through all of these millennia we have been on Earth.
1. An impaler animal?
Yes, and it creates tools to use them as if we were talking about Bob the Builder. And it’s not Vlad Dracula’s pet, just saying.
There are at least thirteen species of finches in the Archipelago, from the ones which Darwin identified, and all of them have a common ancestor but not all of them adapted the same way to the same environment. This is an extremely cute woodpecker finch with lots of imagination: it’s an insect hunter that takes cactus spines with its beak to drive insects out of the barks of trees. However, if it’s necessary, it will impale them to take them to its nest!
- No, no Dracula genes here… it’s because its beak is not able to catch insects by itself, so it created a way to find food with the resources that only nature can give all of us, turned into feeding tools. Bob the Birder, Bird the Builder… sort of.
2. Marine iguanas: Shorter if needed, larger when they want to?
Well… not exactly. Marine iguanas have many particular features that make them unbelievably awesome:
- When they sneeze, which is mostly always, it’s because they have a gland that helps them to get rid of the salt they swallow when swimming underwater.
- They have a short and blunt stout.
- They also have a long tail which works as a propeller to increase their swimming abilities.
Nevertheless, the most amazing fact is that they can become shorter during rough year periods. For example, if there is an unexpected climatic phenomenon such as El Niño, which makes food scarce, they will adapt to hunger by shortening their bodies until the emergency comes to an end. Then, as if they were elastic, they grow up to their normal length.
This feature is a distinctive characteristic that no other vertebrate species in the world may have, and another reason to understand why Galapagos is so magic and has such peculiar species.
3. A vampire bird?
Yes again. And as we said in the previous article, it’s not a bat (which is a mammal, for the record). Vampire finches use their beak, slightly different from each other finch subspecies, to produce small wound on other bigger birds such as boobies, to drink their blood.
- No, no Dracula genes here either… They have this sharp beak and they use it to feed themselves. Some finches eat worms, some others eat nuts… and these drink blood.
- The birds that serve as food do not seem to care about their creepy companions since they, as many scientists think, share a symbiotic relationship in which finches release them from parasites.
In Galapagos Center Expeditions you will see that animals aren’t plain weird: they are the result of millions of years of unceasing evolution and a miracle of nature, just the way we are!