Darwin’s finches: evolving into the future

A recent paper published in the journal Nature, reports the results of sequencing the genomes of all fourteen of the so-called Darwin’s finches, found on the  Galápagos islands (1). These, now famous bird species evolved from a common ancestor as recently as 1.5 million years ago (possibly 2.3 mya) according to previous mitochondrial DNA dating, adapting to…

Land iguanas: a link with the past

There are 44 species of iguanas (in nine genera), but remarkably, some are still undescribed (1).  There are three Land iguanas found in The Galápagos Islands: Conolophus marthae, Conolophus pallidus and Conolophus subcristatus. The commonest one, C. subcristatus,  is found on about seven islands, including North Seymour, where these pictures were taken.  I was not fortunate enough to come across…

The Man-of-War bird

Frigatebirds are often called the pirates of the sea, because they rob other birds – such as boobies – of their catches, snatching the fish just as they return to the surface!  This blue-footed booby (below) shows how easy it would be for a frigatebird to snatch a fish – luckily for this bird, there…

Galápagos dove

This lovely little dove is endemic to the Galápagos islands, Ecuador.  It is not know exactly how many there are on these islands, but it is not thought to be threatened.  It does however, suffer from predation by introduced, feral cats.  These cats are a real threat to some species on the Galápagos islands and need…