Red footed booby. Galapagos. AERoss
Galapagos Photos
by  Dr. Anna E. Ross
Professor Emerita of Biology, Christian Brothers University
650 East Parkway South, Memphis, TN 38104
Blue footed booby. Galapagos. AERoss
Not from the Galapagos!  Indigo bunting, male. Clemson, SC. AERoss
email: aross@cbu.edu
|CBU Biology Dept|    |Dr. Ross's Home Page|
|Galapagos Page Links|
Waved albatross. Galapagos. AERoss
"The natural history of these islands is eminently curious,
and well deserves attention."
-- Charles Darwin, from Voyage of the Beagle, 1845
I visited the Galapagos 24 Nov.-1 Dec. 1980 when I was still a graduate student.  The group included an assortment of geologists and biologists.  The scientific leaders on the trip were Dr. Ernst Mayr (the evolutionary biologist), Dr. Thomas Simkin (Volcanologist, Smithsonian), and Dr. Minard Hall (Volcanologist, Director of the Geophysical Institute, Ecuador)
 
Shortcuts to Animal Photos on this Page
  • Albatross
  • Booby, Blue-footed
  • Booby, Masked
  • Booby, Red-footed
  • Cormorant, Flightless
  • Crab, Sally Lightfoot
  • Darwin's Finches
  • Dove, Galapagos
  • Flamingo
  • (More Flamingoes)
  • Flycatcher, Vermilion
  • Frigatebird
  • Gull, Lava
  • Gull, Swallow-tailed
  • Hawk, Galapagos
  • Heron, Lava
  • Iguana, land
  • Iguana, marine
  • Lava Lizard
  • Mockingbird
  •  Oystercatchers
  • Pelican
  • Penguin
  • Sea Lion
  • More Sea Lions
  • Tortoise, Giant
  • Tropicbird, Red-billed
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Click on an image to see a larger view.
    Galapagos
    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.  ~13 major and 8 small islands, 0-1 degree latitude, ~600 miles west of South America.  Map
    Galapagos
    The islands formed from submarine volcanic activity along a broad, shallow platform near the crest of the East Pacific Rise.
    Galapagos
    Baltra is among the oldest islands and was formed from uplifted submarine basaltic flow.  This was my first view of the islands.
    The Galapagos Islands formed by volcanic activity from the movement of tectonic platesThe Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador.  Each island has a British (English) name and an Ecuadorian (Spanish) name.  The climate is unusual because of the cold Humbolt current to the West and warm El Nino current on the East. 
    Galapagos
    Baltra.  Much of the endemic wildlife was eradicated by bored troops who visited during WWII.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago) reveals a complex geology of old and new lava flows (see below)
    Galapagos
    Bartolome (small island near James).  Fresh lava, spatter cones, and vegetation (Croton).
    Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos from Sept. 15th to Oct 20th in 1835 (at the age of 26).  Darwin visited Chatham (San Cristobal), Charles (Floreana), sailed around SW Albemarle (Isabella), and spent a week on James (Santiago).  Many of the specimens he brought back were collected by others and location data is unreliable for many of these.
    Galapagos
    Bartolome.  The opening of a lava tube (~3 feet in diameter.)
    Galapagos
    Bartolome.  Spatter cone.
    Galapagos
    Bartolome.  Tuff cone
    (The near one is ~4 feet tall.)
    The Galapagos Islands are one of the world's largest and most active groups of oceanic volcanoes.  The entire system is geologically young.  The oldest islands, such as Hood (Espanola), Barrington (Santa Fe), Santa Cruz, and Baltra, were formed of uplifted submarine lava of the Pleistocene (5 million years and older).  Additionally there are three groups of recent volcanoes (1 million years and younger).    The location of individual volcanos was controlled by two major fracture systems.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Great Frigatebird in flight (white band on wings distinguishes it from magnificent)
    Galapagos
    James.  Sally lightfoot crab, Grapsus grapsus.  The lush seaweed is also food for marine iguanas.
    Galapagos
    James.  Steep cliffs.  James' complex geologic history gives it the greatest variety of rock types.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Lava
    Galapagos
    James.  Point with guano and cactus (Opuntia tree form)
    Galapagos
    James.  Layers of lava
    Galapagos
    James.  Greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, courtship display 
    Galapagos
    James.  Dr. Erst Mayr making careful observations of the flamingoes (a subspecies of West Indies flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber)
    Galapagos
    James.  A darker, endemic race of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) is resident.  Palo Santo tree, endemic.
    The opportunity to visit the Galapagos in a group with Dr. Mayr was not to be missed.  This was Dr. Mayr's first trip to the Galapagos.  [At the time, I was a graduate student at Clemson University and one of my major professors was Dr. Carl Helms who had been a student of Dr. Mayr.]
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Higher elevation
    Galapagos
    James. Yellow flower (endemic Cordia lutea, ID thanks to J. Godfrey)
    Galapagos
    James.  Fur seal (endemic, Arctocephalus galapagoensis), marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus), sally lightfoot crabs, on lava.
    Galapagos
    Isabela.  Adult Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator, an endemic subspecies)
    Galapagos
    Isabela.  Brown Pelican.  Unperturbed as the rubber dinghy approached, but it finally lumbered away.
    Galapagos
    James.  Lava Heron (Galapagos heron, Butorides sundevalli, endemic, status debated, formerly Ardeola
    striata)
    Galpagos
    James.  Lava heron.
    Galapagos
    James. Lava heron lunging for a meal.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz, Darwin Station.
    Map of tortoise distribution.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz.  Galapagos giant tortoise, Geochelone elephantopus, in a cow pasture.  Subspecies with domed carapace evolved on islands with lush vegetation.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz, Darwin Station. Captive G. e. hoodensis about 1 yr. old.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz,  Darwin station. Captive tortoise in the breeding program.  This one is eating cactus, Opuntia.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz, Darwin Station.
    Arid Zone vegetation including deciduous palo santo trees, Bursera
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz, Darwin Station.
    Arid Zone vegetation including palo santo trees, Bursera, and tree cactus, Opuntia (see next 2 photos).
    Galapagos
    Galapagos
    Tree cactus, Opuntia, with Dave Stedman, Alma Ross, and Jim Ross.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz, Darwin Station.
    Map of vegetation zones.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands.  Scalesia forest (evergreen Scalesia pedunculata) with endemic pega-pega trees (Pisonia floribunda)
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Epiphytes include bomeliads and orchids.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. View into a huge caldera.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), female.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), male.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), female.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), female.  She allowed me to try several photographs.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Epiphytes including an orchid.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz highlands. Tree-fern, Cyathea weatherbyana, on crater wall.
    Galapagos
    Galapagos sea lions are an endemic subspecies of California sea lion (Zalophus californianus wollebacki). Note the small but distinct ears (Order Otaridae, the eared seals).
    Galapagos
    Galapagos sea lions on dark volcanic sand. Larger size and smaller ears distingiush these from Galapagos fur seals, Arctocephalus galapagoensis.
    Galapagos
    Galapagos sea lion.
    Galapagos
    Sea lion (or fur seal?) skull on volcanic sand.



    Galapagos
    Galapagos sea lion male.
    Galapagos
    Galapagos sea lions are polygamous.
    Galapagos
    Sea lion pup nursing (Zalophus californianus wollebacki)
    Galapagos
    Young Galapagos sea lion.
    Galapagos
    Galapagos sea lion.
    Galapagos
    Parkinsonia flower.
    Galapagos
    Floreana (Charles).  Flamingo lagoon. (Phoenicopterus ruber)
    Galapagos
    Floreana (Charles).  Resident Yellow warblers, Dendroica petechia aureola, are found on many of the islands.
    Galapagos
    Yellow warbler and salt bush, Croton scouleri.
    Galapagos
    Fernandina.  Land iguana, Conolophus subcristatus.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Land iguana, about 4 feet long.  The snout is a bit longer and claws shorter than in the marine iguana.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    The land iguana's tail is rounded (not flattened like the marine iguana).
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Tower.  Swallow-tailed gulls, (Larus) Creagrus furcatus, the only gull that feeds primarily at night.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Tower (Genovesa).  Immature Swallow-tailed gull.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Tower.  Copulating Swallow-tailed gulls.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Tower (Genovesa).  Copulating Swallow-tailed gulls.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Swallow-tailed gulls, Larus furcatus.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Following copulation, the female preens.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Lava gull, Larus fuliginosus, (endemic) one of the world's rarest seabirds.  Only about 400 breeding pairs left.
    http://facstaff.cbu.edu/aross/
    Lava gull
    Galapagos
    Isabela.  Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus), about 2 feet tall.  Showing its wing-- well adapted for swimming.
    Galapagos
    Galapagos penguin.   One of the smallest species, and is found the farthest North.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Galapagos dove, Zenaida galapagoensis.
    Galapagos
    Fernandina.  Flightless cormorant (Nannopterum harrisi) spreading a "useless" wing.
    Galapagos
    Fernandina.  Flightless cormorant (Nannopterum harrisi).
    Galapagos
    Tower.  Frigatebird.
    Galapagos
    Young frigatebird at its nest.  Great frigatebirds,Fregata minor, have rust colored feathers on face.  Young Magnificent frigatebird (F. magnificens) have white faces.
    Galapagos
    Nestling Great frigatebird resting, draped over its nest. 
    Galapagos
    Great frigatebird.  How to tell which species.
    Galapagos
    Fernandina has an active volcano.  Brachycerus cactus, ~3 feet tall, found only on lava.
    Galapagos
    Floreana.  Candelabra cactus, Jasminocereus.
    Galapagos
    Baltra.  Opuntia with blooms.
    Galapagos
    Floreana.  Sally lightfoot crab.
    Galapagos
    Floreana.  Sally lightfoot crabs, Grapsus grapsus
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Sea lion pups gathered in the nursery (Zalophus californianus wollebacki)
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Sea lions on the beach; our cruise ship offshore.
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Some members of the group along with sea lions.
    Galapagos
    Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus, in flight.  See RIT for more photos.
    Galapagos
    Tropicbird leaves its nest.  Masked boobies,Sula dactylatra.
    Galapagos
    Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus on its nest.
    Galapagos
    Darwin Station.  Darwin's finches.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz.  Small tree finch,  Camarhynchus parvulus.
    Galapagos
    Large ground finch (female?), Geospiza magnirostris.
    Galapagos
    Santa Cruz.  Medium ground finch (female), Geospiza fortis.
    Galapagos
    Small ground finch (female), Geospiza fuliginosa.
    Galapagos
    Tower (Genovesa).  Sharp-beaked ground finch (female), Geospiza difficilis, on Opuntia flower.
    Galapagos
    Cactus ground finch, Geospiza scandens, on Opuntia.
    Galapagos
    Isabela.  Galapagos Mockingbird, Nesomimus parvulus, perched with a view of the caldera.
    Galapagos
    Hood (Espanola).  Hood Mockingbird, Nesomimus macdonaldi.
    Galapagos Galapagos
    Hood Mockingbird, Nesomimus macdonaldi.
    Galapagos
    Hood Mockingbird, Nesomimus macdonaldi.
    Galapagos
    Hood Mockingbird, Nesomimus macdonaldi, with my hat.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Lava lizard, Tropidurus
    Galapagos
    Floreana.  Lava lizard.
    Galapagos
    Hood Is. has the largest species of Lava lizard.  The female has red markings.
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Male lava lizard. Both sexes are territorial.
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Male lava lizard, Tropidurus
    Galapagos
    Isabela.  Blue-footed Booby, Sula nebouxii, pair with chick and egg.  Asynchronous hatching facilitates siblicide.
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Blue-footed Booby feeding older chick.  Feeding is close to shore, so pairs in this colony usually raise 2-3 chicks.
    Galapagos
    Blue-footed Booby with young chick.
    Galapagos
    Immature Blue-footed Boobies.
    Galapagos
    Blue-footed Boobies with older chick.
    Galapagos
    Blue-footed Booby mated pair.  The female has a dark iris.
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Blue-footed Booby with older chicks.
    Galapagos
    Blue-footed Booby courtship display.  The male honks, the female whistles. 
    Galapagos
    Blue-footed Booby Courtship displays include slow, deliberate lifting of feet.
    Galapagos
    Blue-footed Booby.
    Galapagos
    Hood.  Blue-footed Booby courtship display includes "sky pointing"
    Galapagos
    Hood (Espanola).  Galapagos Hawk, Buteo galapagoensis.
    Galapagos
    Red-footed Booby (Sula sula), white phase.  They nest in the bushes.
    Galapagos
    Red-footed Booby (Sula sula), white phase
    Galapagos
    Immature Red-footed Booby, Sula sula.
    Galapagos
    Red-footed Booby (Sula sula), brown phase.
    Galapagos
    Red-footed Booby (Sula sula), brown phase.
    Galapagos
    Red-footed Booby (Sula sula), brown phase.
    Galapagos
    Masked Boobies, Sula dactylatraCourtship feeding.
    Galapagos
    Masked Boobies, Sula dactylatra.
    Galapagos
    Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra.
    Galapagos
    Masked Boobies are the largest boobies.  They nest on steep terrrain or near cliffs.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Marine Iguanas, Amblyrhynchus cristatus.  The subspecies on James has red coloring.
    Galapagos
    James (Santiago).  Marine Iguanas, Amblyrhynchus cristatus
    Galapagos
    Marine Iguana.  There are 7 subspecies.
    Galapagos
    Fernandina.  Marine Iguanas.  Longer claws and short snout compared to land iguana.
    Galapagos
    Fernandina.  Marine Iguanas.  Thermoregulation by basking

    Tower.  Marine Iguana.

    Hood Is. (Espanola) Marine Iguanas, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, have bright breeding coloration.

    Hood (Espanola) Marine Iguana.  They drink salt water and "sneeze" salty brine.

    Hood (Espanola) Marine Iguanas.

    Hood (Espanola).  Waved Albatross, Diomedea irrorata.  The only breeding colonies in the world.  Photographed about a month before the juveniles leave in January.

    Hood.  Waved Albatross, Diomedea irrorata.  A goose-sized bird but with a wingspan of 7 feet.

    Bartolome.  The obligatory photo of pinnacle rock.

    Because this group included renowned volcanologists, we had access to a few islands and landing points not on the usual tourist routes of the time.  The trip (which included Giovanna Holbrook of Holbrook travel) also included a few other stops in Ecuador (including Quito, Otovalo, and Guayaquil), but those slides have not yet been scanned.
    Thanks to Amy Cook, CBU School of Sciences, who scanned my 35mm slides.
    Links for Dr. Ross's Galapagos Photos Page

    About the Galapagos Islands

    About Organisms of the Galapagos

    About Dr. Ernst Mayr: About Volcanology:
    About Evolution and Darwin 


    [Jan 2007]
    email: aross@cbu.edu