Record Details

Carpenter, Charles C
Behavioral and ecological notes on the Galapagos land iguanas
Journal Article
Conolophus pallidus;Conolophus subcristatus
The ecology and behavior of two species of the iguanid genus Conolophus of the Galapagos Islands were observed in the field and in captivity. C. subcristatus from South Plazas Island C. pallidus from Barrington Island 17 miles to the east exhibit similar habitat preferences for raised basking sites near burrow or lava crevice retreats. The shallow burrows are in open areas with soil. Defense behavior was exhibited by posturing with open mouths. Activity was greatest in mid-morning and late afternoon. The aggressive displays of the two species were similar in the aggressive postures (figured), and these involved arching of the back, bloating the trunk and throat regions, lowering of the head and raising the longitudinal serrated mid-dorsal roach and crest. The display-action-patterns of both species involved only up and down movements of the head and neck. The depth, number, and cadence of these head nods differed between the two species. C. subcristatus performs a more rapid sequence (1.3 seconds vs. 1.7 seconds) of movements with greater depth and a more varied pattern of head nods. Two hundred sixty-one scats examined for both species contained predominately the remains of the fruits and pads of Opuntia cactus, with grass, leaves, and twigs being of less significance. C. subcristatus had a mean cloacal temperature of 31.98 C compared with 35.13 C for C. pallidus.