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The Wildlife of the Galapagos Islands


The Galapagos Islands, located approximately 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, are one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse natural sites in the world. Known as an archipelago of volcanic islands, the Galapagos is a protected habitat for many plants and animals. A visit to the islands is a rewarding experience and an excellent way to see some fantastic creatures living there.

Darwin’s visit

In 1835, Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands for five weeks. These islands are volcanic and are home to unique wildlife species. During his expedition, Darwin saw many new things. He was interested in the geological features and the different types of plant life.

Before heading to the Galapagos Islands, Darwin traveled to Rio de Janeiro and Cabo Verde. He also visited Peru and Chile. His observations in these regions helped him develop his theory of evolution.

Darwin sailed on the HMS Beagle. The vessel’s purpose was to survey the coast of South America. He sailed for eight days. Finally, on the last day, he landed on San Cristobal Island.

Charles Darwin was 22 years old when he traveled to the Galapagos Islands. During his visit, he spent five weeks studying plants and animals. At the end of his trip, he wrote about his findings in a book called Journal and Remarks.

Sea lions mating season

Galapagos sea lions breed in the waters of the islands. Females give birth to one pup after 11 months of gestation. Dogs stay in shallow water for about five months. The female will nurse her dog for up to a year.

Galapagos sea lions are known to be playful animals. They are not afraid of people and can spend hours underwater playing. However, they are still susceptible to attacks by stray dogs and boats.

Male sea lions defend harems of five to twenty females. They are very aggressive during mating season. A dominant male usually fights other bulls and tries to win the harem. He will also need to patrol his territory.

In the wild, the Galapagos sea lion is considered to be endangered. In addition, it is listed on the IUCN red list. These creatures are giant and weigh from 50 to 400 kilograms. During the breeding season, they are found in colonies.

Whale sharks

Whale sharks are a significant part of the Galapagos Islands ecosystem. They are primarily filter feeders, eating plankton, krill, and small fish.

One of the significant benefits of visiting the Galapagos is seeing these impressive creatures. The islands are home to 30 species of sharks and rays. In addition, they are the best place to watch sea turtles.

Whale sharks can grow to a length of 40 feet. This makes them one of the largest species of fish in the world. They live in tropical oceans and feed on plankton.

Whale sharks migrate from their feeding grounds in Indonesia to the Galapagos Islands. They migrate in June and July. A large number of whale sharks visit Darwin Arch, which is a natural outcrop in the Galapagos Islands. Most whale sharks visit the arch for a short period.

Galapagos whale sharks are generally seen in groups. However, they rarely form large schools. These groups are composed  ofprimarily pregnant females.

Darwin’s finches

The Darwin’s Finches are one of the most notable species on the Galapagos Islands. They play an essential role in the theory of evolution. Charles Darwin observed these finches in 1835. He wrote about them in the book On the Origin of Species. This book also played a significant role in developing the theory of natural selection.

Darwin’s Finches are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. These small land birds are black and brown. Their body size varies from 10 to 20 centimeters in length.

Among the most well-known examples of adaptive radiation, Darwin’s Finches have a long history of evolution. These birds were originally brought to the Galapagos Islands from the mainland of South America. They branched out to form different species. Each species has its distinct ecological niche. It is possible that a common ancestral flock migrated to the islands about two million years ago.

Charles Darwin first encountered finches on the Galapagos Islands in 1835. His observations led him to believe that the Galapagos species were modified versions of the mainland ones. Nevertheless, he was not sure how the finches were related.