This post was last updated on July 26th, 2016
There are some amazing tours that offer off the beaten track trips around the world. One of them will take you to the Galapagos, where you are able to meet three different types of animals: endemic, native and introduced. So what sets these apart?
Endemic means that the animal is found only in the area that you are visiting. Hence, when you take a trip to the Galapagos, you will be able to see animals such as the marine iguana. This is different from native species, such as the Frigate Bird, which can also be found elsewhere. It is also different from the goat, which is an introduced species, meaning it was brought there.
How Come There Are Endemic Species in the Galapagos?
When you visit the Galapagos, you will find that there are only four ways to get there. However, the story is very different for the wildlife there. Each endemic species found a different way of getting there. Considering the iguanas, tortoises and rats, for instance, it is believed that these came from the mainland of South America. It is believed that these animals would cling on to debris during storms, eventually carry them on to the islands. Indeed, many of the other endemic animals are believed to have arrived on the islands through freak storms.
Why Are There so Many Reptiles?
You will notice that there are very few mammals in the Galapagos, but many reptiles. This is because, in the short term, reptiles need much less food and water. Additionally, they are better able to deal with the rays of the sun. Hence, if you were to place a cat on the Galapagos, together with a lizard, it is likely that the lizard will be able to survive much better than the cat. This is because there is far more possible habitat for reptiles on the islands as well.
What about Evolution?
The Galapagos are famous for being the birthplace of Darwin’s theory on evolution. Much of this has to do with the endemic species that are there. If you consider the marine iguana, for instance, you will notice how different they are from their ancestor: the regular iguana. Iguanas are able to swim somewhat, but they prefer to live in trees. Once washed up on the Galapagos, however, they developed so that they were able to swim better, hold their breath and even eat algae. Similarly, there are 13 different types of finch on the islands, each of which comes from the same original finch. They adapted to the specific environmental conditions in which they lived.
Some of the Galapagos’ Famous Endemic Species
Some of the most famous endemic species to the Galapagos include:
- Three different types of iguana
- The Giant Tortoise
- Lava lizards
- The Waved Albatross
- The Galapagos Penguin
- The Flightless Cormorant
- The Galapagos Hawk
The most famous of all, however, has to be the Galapagos sea lion.