Marine Iguana


  • Status
  • Scientific Name
    Amblyrhynchus cristatus
  • Length
    2-5.6 feet long
  • Habitats

One of the main nesting zones for iguanas is located on a central tourist beach in the waterfront area of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. For several years, the Galápagos National Park protected only the central part of the nesting zone. In 2012, WWF, the Municipality of Isabela and the Charles Darwin Foundation extended the protected area to include the entire nesting zone. As part of this effort, additional signs for both tourists and local communities inform them about the importance of this nesting zone. A temporary fence was also built to protect the area and allow iguanas to pass through.

Why They Matter

  • Marine iguanas are the world’s only oceangoing lizard. They are also only found in the Galápagos, where they can be seen resting on the rocky shores.


  • Extinction Risk Vulnerable
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Marine iguana

Introduced species such as cats, rats, dogs and pigs prey on marine iguanas. They are also threatened by the impacts of climate change. Sea level and air temperature rise can affect their beach nesting habitat and the iguanas’ ability to regulate its body temperature while on land, as well as interfere with egg development.

Related Species