Top 20 Endemic Species in the Galapagos #414 Mar 2015, Posted by Galapagos Islands Blog in
- Large Painted Locusts
Among the unique insects of the island, the large painted locusts are both beautiful and vitally important. Growing to 8 inches in length, these large locusts look truly painted with color. The locusts form the bulk of diet for hawks and lava lizards, making the locust a vital part of the circle of life on the islands.
- Sally Lightfoots
This colorful species of crab has gold, blue, red and orange markings that make it the most beautiful of its kind. This creature has been observed as living in symbiosis with the marine iguanas. In an unusual behavior for a crab, the Sally Lightfoot crab actually picks ticks off of the iguana’s skin.
- Other Unique Birds
There are many more birds that are unique to the Galapagos. The Lava gull is very unusual with its dark gray plumage and territorial behavior. The swallow-tail gull is a nocturnal feeder. The dark-billed Cuckoo, the Lava Heron, the thick-billed flycatcher and the dark-rumped petrel are also found only in the Galapagos. The islands are also home to distinct species of the brown pelican, dove, rail, and barn owl.
- Galapagos Snakes
The Galapagos snake may be one of three unique species. Resembling a constrictor, it grows only two to three feet in length. Many are dark brown with a yellow stripe. Its main predators include the Galapagos hawk and the numerous wild cats that have overrun some islands.
- Small Mammals
Other than the marine mammals, there have never been large native or endemic mammals on the island. There are, however, two species of rice rats and two endemic bats, including the hoary bat. Other mammals on the island, such as wild cats, dogs and non-native rats, came when humans arrived, starting in the 1800s.