ambyrhynchus cristatus

Galápagos Marine Iguana


IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Range: Galápagos Islands, Equador
Population: 19,800-210,000 and declining
Size: Ranges between islands but average of 10″ (260mm) body size
Threats: Population fluctuations due to El Niño events; Climate change,  Micro plastics, Predation by introduced domestic cats, dogs, and rats.

species information

  • The Galápagos Marine Iguana is the world’s only marine lizard species, and is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Eleven subspecies are recognized throughout the islands of the Galápagos, three of which can be found on San Cristóbal Island.
  • These iguanas occur on rocky coastal and inter-tidal zones, and are algae specialist.  Although not truly social, large congregations of Galápagos Marine Iguanas can be found on the rocky shore, often to conserve heat.
  • They are threatened by predation from invasive species such as rats, and are susceptible to climatic events, as well as ingestion of micro plastics.
  •  The entire Galápagos Marine Iguana distribution is included in three protected areas: Galápagos National Park and National Marine Reserve, Galápagos Islands Man and Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO), and Galápagos Islands World Heritage Site, they are also included in environmental outreach activities aimed at locals and tourists.

IIF Grants Received

2019 Grant

Armchair conservation: monitoring threatened Galapagos marine iguanas using drones and

citizen science


Amy Macleod




2018 Grant

Conservation of the endemic Galápagos Marine Iguana: investigating the emerging threat of marine plastic pollution


Jen Jones and Juan Pablo Muñoz-Pérez



Reports from the Field