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  • Interesting Facts About Galapagos Islands

    The Galapagos Islands have enthralled visitors and naturalists for more than a century. With their arid landscapes and fearless wildlife, they were an inspiration to Charles Darwin on his voyage on the HMS Beagle in 1835. It was there that Darwin performed his observations and collected the samples for his great work on evolution and natural selection, "The Origin of Species." They instill the same awe and wonder in visitors today. (Pictured below: Galapagos sea lion at the beach of Espanola Island)
     
    Interesting Facts About Galapagos Islands

    Size

    The Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 main islands and 6 smaller islands, as well as many rocks and islets. They cover an area of around 19,000 square miles in the ocean. The Galapagos was formed by volcanic activity, and several volcanoes are still active today.

     

    Galapagos Giant Tortoise

    The Giant Tortoise is one of the most famous residents of the Galapagos. Scientists have identified 14 distinct forms of Giant Tortoise throughout the Galapagos. The Giant Tortoise grows up to 5 feet and can live for around 150 years.

    Galapagos tortoise

    Animal & Plant Life

    Due to a lack of natural predators, the Galapagos have a wide variety of animal species. Some interesting exotic animals include Galapagos penguins, the waved albatross, red-footed, blue-footed (pictured below) and masked boobies, and countless species of exotic fish and reptiles. As well as being home to the Giant Tortoise, the Galapagos Islands are also inhabited by marine iguanas, sea lions and several species of birds.

    A wealth of similar plant species throughout the Galapagos are native to a specific location. This provides great models for the study of adaptive radiation (the development of new species from migrating populations). Aside from the many exotic plants such as giant prickly pear and orchids, the islands contain endemic species of cotton, tomato, guava, pepper and passion flower.

    Blue-footed booby

    Getting There

    Traveling to the Galapagos Islands can be quite expensive, as the only way to get there from the mainland is by plane or boat. Once there, however, you can island hop by boat.

    Geography

    Located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the closest mainland to the Galapagos Islands is Ecuador, about 450 miles away. The islands are located above the Galapagos Hotspot, a place where the Earth's crust is melting, which creates the volcanic landscape.

     

    Article Written By Rina Shah

    Rina Shah is a law student with degrees in psychology and business administration from the University of Texas and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics. She has worked in law, nonprofits, information technology and teaching. Shah has over five years of experience writing for various purposes on the job and more than 10 years of academic writing.

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