Galapagos Islands: Home to Pink Iguanas
The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are renowned for being home to a variety of strange and unusual creatures and it seems that reputation continues to be proved yet again. Recent research suggests that a peculiar looking iguana, which has been thought to simply be an iguana with pigmentation problems, is, in fact, a completely new species of iguana.
According to Washington Tapia, the head of research at the Galapagos National Park, it is “surprising to have made a find of this magnitude in the 21st century.” Indeed, the unusually patterned iguanas were first discovered in 1986. They are pink with black spots and appear to simply have strange pigmentation – which is why they have not been confirmed as a new species up until now. It took years of careful research and study by a team of Italian and Ecuadorean scientists working at Isabela Island to finally come to the conclusion that this was a different subspecies of iguana. The pink iguanas can grow up to 1.8 meters in length from tip to tail. Yet it is its physical traits which set it most apart, not its size. Apart from the unusual pink coloration, it seems that the pink iguanas lack the row of spines found along the back of a regular iguana. Scientists have now concluded that the species is definitely unique, yet they feel that more research will be needed in order to determine exactly how unique. Populations of this unusual creature also appear to be small. According to Tapia, only 36 pink iguanas have been found and captured for research purposes to date.
The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador have long been a source of fascination to people of all sorts. The unusual wildlife and unique topography has made them worthy of preservation and so UNESCO preserved the 13 main islands Patrimony of the Humanity in 1978. They have since been grouped into the Galapagos National Park and visitors to Ecuador are encouraged to tour the islands under the guidance of a park ranger when they visit the country. No doubt, the fascinating pink iguanas, although somewhat rare, will prove to be a fascinating new draw-card to an already alluring and mind-boggling tourist attraction.