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The Animals of Galapagos Islands

January 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most diverse wildlife groupings in the world. It’s no wonder the species of the Galapagos Islands helped give birth to Darwin’s evolutionary theories.


The name “Galapago” actually means tortoise in Spanish. The giant tortoises of Galapagos were part of what inspired Darwin’s ideas behind evolution. These tortoises have no natural predators roaming the islands, making them mostly docile and easy to approach. Today, intense conservation efforts are underway to protect this rapidly dwindling species.

Marine Iguana

The marine iguanas of Galapagos are some of the only marine lizards in existence. They take to the sea in search of seaweed for nutrition, and they have special glands in their nostrils that filter out the excess salt from the sea and expel it from the nose.


The cormorant birds in Galapagos are the only members of the species who have lost the ability to fly. The bird has grown rather large as a result. It has also become the target of predators introduced to the island relatively recently, including dogs and cats.


Darwin’s finches helped present some of the clearest evidence that evolution exists. Using these finches, Darwin discovered that most of the islands of Galapagos held different species, evolved to handle different conditions. These finches are currently endangered thanks to a new species of fruit fly that feeds on the finch’s nestlings.


The penguins in Galapagos are some of the smallest in the world. They are also the only penguins capable of living south of the equator. They take after their imperial relatives, forming monogamous bonds that continue throughout their lives.

About the Author: Phineas Upham, is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

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