Monday, 5 April 2010

Macro Monday: Things That make You Go ...Eeeeuuuuwwww!...

Oh crap! It's Monday again, and I have already had complaints about not posting my Macro Monday post yet (in my defence, Monday does come much later here in North America, and it is only Monday morning here).
So, without further ado, here it is:

As you can see, there will be no cute and fluffy this week. Oh no, for this week we are moving on to a couple of fascinating creatures that some may not find quite so appealing as last week's sealions. But hey, let's give these guys a chance, shall we? The first dude, in all his warty gloriousness is a marine iguana. OK, so perhaps he does look as though he could use some serious help in the skin department (perhaps a little moisturiser might help?) and perhaps he does look a tad miserable. He is known to laze around on the beach all day, snorting and sneezing, sending sprays of snotty saltwater up to three feet from his nostrils. On the plus side, at least he doesn't smell like a bucket of fish that has been put through a blender and then left in the sun for a week. And credit where credit is due, this is the only sea faring lizard in the world.

Marine iguanas are found on the Galapagos Islands and they spend most of their time lying around sunbathing on the black volcanic rocks that form much of the islands coastline. Now you may be thinking that they are lazy sods as well as ugly creatures but, to be fair, they are not trying to get a nice golden tan that they can show off to family and friends when they go home. Nope, they are actually little heat sinks, absorbing the sun's rays to raise their body temperatures. Once they hit a certain temperature, it is off to work and into the rather nippy waters that surround the Galapagos. They are remarkably good swimmers, which Darwin himself demonstrated by repeatly picking one up and throwing it into the water to see how well it would swim back to land - now there is an experiment that I think even I could manage! Once in the water, they will duck dive (lizard dive?) down and then use their rather large and scary talons to grip onto the seaweed covered rocks and they will begin to eat. Their short, blunt snouts allow them to get really close to the rock surface and graze away at the seaweed for as long as they can hold their breath - about 30 minutes for larger individuals. Eventually, their sun derived heat will be leached from their bodies by the chilly waters, and they will return back to the rocks to bask and snort in the sun once more. And just in case you were thinking that the whole sorting thing is just a disgusting habit, I should tell you that it is their way of excreting excess salt that they get from eating all that seaweed. I will admit that I did not particularly appreciate a rather large snort that sprayed my camera lens, but a marine iguana has to do what a marine iguana has to do - snort.

This second photo is another iguana from the Galapagos, the land iguana. This chap is almost as ugly (sorry lizards, I actually find you both quite endearing, but let's be realistic, others may not. If you want the oooohs and aaahs, go for a fur coat.) as the marine iguana. Land iguanas are more conventional than the marine iguanas. They also lay around in the sun alot, but they eat a more conventional diet of land vegetation, showing a particular fondness for the prickly pear cactus, whose spines appear to pose no problems.

Since Monday is rapidly running out, I shall have to finish, but if you want to know more about either of these lizards, you can always go here or here.

For more Macro Monday, go here.

If you want to see more Faces of the Week, go here.


Colleen said...

Fascinating! How can something so ugly be so beautiful at the same time? Lucky you to be able to get such great shots.

jabblog said...

The marine iguana has beautiful colours while the land iguana is relatively 'quiet' - for camouflage, maybe? I'd snort if I'd taken in that much salt . . . ;-) Fabulous close-ups!

Cortes said...

They will not win a beauty contest, but it sounds to me like they have a great life. Lying around in the sun and snorting, purrrrfect!

Kala said...

What a magnificent face this creature has!

Sistertex said...

Really cool. You know whenever I see photos of their feet...I always think of 'chainmail' armor for some reason.

The faces are got to love those faces! Thank you so much for participating in 'Face of the Week' this week. I greatly appreciate it and love *all* your work. You never let me down, always an enjoyable read.

Johnny Nutcase said...

freaking awesome shots here, niiice! Love the headshot of the iguana...He's a looker! Awesome post!

English Mum said...

Well done. And I'll let you off the fact that it's Tuesday because yesterday was a bank holiday.


I'd like to see the snotty saltwater spraying thing. And Darwin hurling iguanas about for that matter. What a guy. xx

SquirrelQueen said...

I'm with JN, those are some awesome head shots of the Iguanas. I loved seeing and hearing about the marine iguana, great post.

Amanda said...

There's something strangely beautiful about it! Great shots!

Baino said...

Nah as someone who lives literally with lounge lizards, I think they're wonderful. They always look like they're smiling!

Jay said...

I think they're both rather lovely, especially the Marine Iguana! He reminds me of some of the primitive statues you see. I don't know if they are gods .. maybe just iguanas!

They can hold their breath for thirty minutes? Wow... that's incredible. And I even forgive them the salty projectile snot.

Kate said...

I like these guys - I met a tame one with his owner on holiday last year - Bobby his name was and we got quite matey... amazing creature!

Don't Bug Me! said...

Colleen: Indeed, I vote for beautiful!

Jabblog: I hate it when I get salt water up my nose!

Cortes: They probably scratch lot too.

Kala: I would have to agree - they really are magnificent all around.

Sistertex: As always, you really are too kid.

JN: Thank you!

EM: True, it was a long weekend, but I shall try and do better next week and get it posted before Monday runs out GMT.

SQ: One of my favourite, if not prettiest, animals on the Galapagos.

Amanda: Thank you!

Baino: I agree!

Jay: The snot was fine, as long as it didn't spurt in my direction!

Kate: Why on earth would anyone call an iguana Bobby!?!

Kate said...

Quite! But that was his name!! :-)