Ecuador's Galapagos Islands - 2003

beauty marks these creatures possess. Their heads are also decorated in high fashion with “punky” feathers on top with bright frosting highlighting the gray. Of course, the first thing we all noticed about all the creatures here in the Galapagos is their utter fearlessness—their appealing vulnerability because of their innocence regarding the menace of humankind. Unfortunately, many of them are not afraid of the feral animals humans have introduced onto the Islands: cats, dogs, pigs, goats, rats & burros. Because the creatures are so trusting here, photography is amazingly simple. One doesn’t need long lenses or camouflage. If you see a good subject, you can practically walk right up to it and put the camera in its face. Of course, the very strict rules of the National Park, which the naturalists conscientiously enforce, do not permit quite that much freedom of human movement. Nonetheless, photo ops are many, easy and quite close by. So we weren’t too surprised when we were able to observe easily the evolving skins of the marine iguanas on this island—adding more turquoise to their basic flat black scaly textures. Science isn’t too sure why this island group is adding the color to its repertoire of individual traits, but it probably has to do with attracting the most healthy and fertile mates Again, color seems to be so important here. The Sally Lightfoot crabs are like neon signs against the black lava rocks.

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