Author: Anna Blümel
Pictures: Robert Marc Lehmann, Paula Kormos

Marine iguanas on the Galápagos Islands

Photographed by Robert Marc Lehmann

Robert Marc Lehmann is a marine biologist, research diver and prize-winning nature photographer. In HEROES WORLD, he tells us about the stories behind his images.

Robert Marc Lehman kniet mit Kamera in der Hand auf dem Boden

The marine iguana is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, meaning that it is native only to the remote archipelago. The iguanas can be found on all the islands, usually on the rocky coastlines or in the mangroves.
One of the eleven known subspecies of this iguana is Amblyrhynchus cristatus godzilla. Its name is no accident: the creature’s forbidding appearance served as the muse for the eponymous silver-screen monster, Godzilla. Unlike in the blockbusters, though, visitors to the Galápagos Islands have nothing to fear if they stumble across these iguanas.
They are the only herbivore lizard species and search for sustenance in the sea. Their diet primarily consists of algae and seaweed. The iguanas do not need the sea salt they ingest with their food, so excrete it from their nasal glands. This explains why so many of the islands’ four-legged inhabitants have white heads. In fact, Robert has had the honor of experiencing this salty sneeze up close. “With an unpleasant salt crust on my face and on my lens, photographing these animals is certainly a lot of fun,” jokes the marine biologist.

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