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Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
Voyage of the Beagle 1832-1836

There were two species of lizards of the genus Amblyrhynchus. The aquatic lizard was up to four feet long. The land lizard, shown in the plate, was much smaller. It ate cactus and the leaves of the acacia tree. Darwin explained how common they were on the islands

"I cannot give a more forcible proof of their numbers, than by stating that when we were left at James Island, we could not for some time find a spot free from their burrows on which to pitch our single tent." They did not bite, and "they slowly crawl along with their tails and bellies dragging on the ground. They often stop, and doze for a minute or two, with closed eyes and hind legs spread out on the parched soil."


Darwin wrote of the Galapagos, that the order of reptiles
"gives the most striking character to the zoology of these islands."

The tortoises, for which the Spanish had named the archipelago, were very remarkable. Some were so huge that Darwin
"frequently got on their backs, and then giving a few raps on the hind part of their shells, they would rise up and walk away; but I found it very difficult to keep my balance."



Amblyrynchus Demarlii. [Iguana]

from Thomas Bell's The Zoology of the Voyage
of H.M.S. Beagle. Edited by Charles Darwin. Part IV: Reptiles.
London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1843

Darwin: Page 3 of 3.
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