Watch a Surprisingly Graceful Marine Lizard Glide Underwater


Marine iguanas are unique amongst lizards for the simple fact that they can swim and forage for food underwater. The above video, from YouTube user Steve Winkworth (and via The Kid Should See This), shows this Galápagos creature gracefully gliding through the water and dining on algae clinging to the rocks below.

Other than its occasional forays into the water, marine iguanas spend most of their time on the islands' rocky beaches. Though unique and graceful, the lizard had one very notable hater: Charles Darwin. Upon seeing them on his third day in the Galápagos, Darwin wrote of the iguanas:

The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large (2-3 ft) most disgusting, clumsy Lizards. They are as black as the porous rocks over which they crawl & seek their prey from the Sea—Somebody calls them ‘imps of darkness.’

Unfortunately, the iguanas are a vulnerable species whose numbers are declining. A major reason for this is the presence of people. A 2012 study found antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli and Salmonella bacteria in the lizards, most likely from human waste, which is one of the reasons why (human) pooping is frowned upon on the Galápagos Islands.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

Banner image via Steve Winkworth, YouTube.