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daibangxanh

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Flightless cormorants (Nannopterum harrisi), at Punta Espinoza. Fernandina Island
It is by these cool waters that there is a large colony of these very special birds. It is the only one of the 29 species of worldwide cormorants to have lost the ability to fly. Because of the abundant fish and small shellfish (their main food) it was more important to swim well, and since they have no predators that force them to fly away, the natural selection transformed them into a different species, extremely skilled in swimming but unable to fly any longer. However, they still have the characteristic manner of their family; they stretch out their small wings to dry them after swimming.


Sea lions (Zalophus californianus) at Puerto Egas in James Bay, Santiago Island
The Galápagos sea lion is one of the archipelago's largest animals. It may weigh up to 250kg, but even so it is still smaller than the sea lions in California, where it has its origins. A group of them are here resting in the shadow of beautiful rocks formed from piled and compacted volcanic ash; these tuff formations are rather soft and so very much subject to erosion caused by the wind and the sea.



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Giant tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus). Santa Cruz Island
These antediluvian animals are remarkable for their size (they may measure 1.5m and weigh up to 250kg), for their longevity (they can live for over 150 years), and for their solitude (apart from the mating season, they remain alone throughout their life). Besides the young, which weigh about 80gr at birth and can become easy preys for the hawks (buteo galapagoensis), the giant tortoises have no predators. Man was a major predator in the 18th and 19th centuries when the tortoises were hunted by pirates, whalers, sealers and settlers to such an extent that in some of the archipelago's islands they were completely exterminated. They used to be a much appreciated treasure on the boats because they could remain alive for a long time without drinking or eating and they were a long-term guarantee of fresh meat.
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Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). Rábida Island
It seems to me, though I have no scientific knowledge in this matter, that these animals are the true representative of the saurians that have remained on earth until this day. The marine iguanas are very gentle and delicate in their behaviour, incapable of any aggression toward other animals. On the contrary, they even let others, like birds or lava lizards, climb on their back. They mingle easily with the cormorants, the sea lions, the fur seals, the pelicans, the ************ies and others. When the birds are nervous they pick on the iguanas, who do not fight back. The young sea lions mock them and play at pulling the iguanas' tails, especially while they are swimming. But the marine iguanas just let it go.
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Marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). Santa Fé Island
The males fight during the mating season. The females also fight when they lay their eggs, because the soft soil or sand in which they need to bury the eggs is scarce among the volcanic rocks. Otherwise, the marine iguanas are extremely gentle and live in complete harmony with the other animals.
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Giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) on the edge of the crater of Alcedo Volcano, Isabela Island
This male, which may weigh up to 250kg, is looking to mate. The females are smaller than the males. Copulation may last for hours.
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Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)
Like other reptiles, the marine iguana is an ectothermic creature so it must regulate its body temperature. As soon as the sun rises the marine iguana lies flat, exposing as much body area as possible to the sun. When it reaches a body temperature of 35.5C it changes its position in order to avoid overheating. To swim, to move about and to digest, the marine iguana must have a high body temperature.

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Scalesia villosa plant, on Champion Islet, with the volcanoes of Floreana Island in the background
There are 15 species of scalesia in the Galápagos, and six subspecies, but all are believed to have descended from a single ancestral stock.
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daibangxanh

Well-Known Member
#2
Bộ ứng cứu tràn đổ hóa chất và môi trường

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Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), Cape Douglas, Fernandina Island
Most of the time these turtles can be seen only when they come to the surface of the sea to breathe or when they land, which they do rarely and mostly to lay their eggs. This they do once every two or three years, at night. I asked around why such a large number of these turtles were landing on the beach in daylight but no one had an explanation for this unusual behaviour.

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Sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Santa Fé Island
I had the opportunity to be present at the ceremony that took place right after a birth. When we landed, before 6am, this sea lion female had just given birth. The situation was tense because two hawks were trying to take the placenta. From afar I saw the sea lion female attack them, and manage to scratch some feathers off one of the birds, which made them fly away. The female was still covered with her own blood from the birth and was washing her pup. The weather was warm and humid. The female started to take the newborn to the water, which took at least two hours although the sea was close at hand. Finally they reached the edge of a very small lagoon, the female dived in and chased out of the water all the other young sea lions that were there so that she could focus entirely on her newborn. She took the pup into the water, where it swam a little, swallowing water and coughing it up. The female quickly got the pup's head out of the water so that it could breathe, and then plunged it into the water again until at last it could swim correctly. After that the mother washed herself and began to take the pup toward the shore to avoid the incoming high tide. She gently led her offspring onto the rocks near the place where it was born and, fully relaxed, began to enjoy the tenderness of her young.
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General view of Santiago Island as seen from one of the craters of Sulivan Bay
One can see areas covered with relatively recent lava on which no vegetation has yet grown, and some areas of light colour, which are older, and on which vegetation has started to appear. On the hill of the old small volcano, one can see a forest of palo santo (Bursera graveolens) trees. This relative of frankincense and myrrh is the best known tree in the Galápagos dry zone. Its name, palo santo ("holy stick"), comes from the fact that it flowers in December around Christmas time. Its sap is very concentrated and the fragrant smoke from burning sticks repels insects.
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Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus). Genovesa Island
This photograph was taken at the end of the day, as the short-eared owl is diurnal in its hunting habits. The owl is holding down between its claws a bird, a Galápagos storm petrel (Oceanodroma tethys). The short-eared owl is the main predator of the petrel and lives near the petrel colonies in Genovesa Island.
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Lava cactus (Brachycereus nesioticus)
The Brachycereus, as it is known in the Galápagos, is the true colonizer of the lava fields. It is the sole plant to be found on more recent lava flows, as seen in this photograph. Sometimes its white-creamed coloured flowers can be seen. It is the only cactus that can be safely touched as its spines are as soft as fur. The tallest may reach 60cm in height.

Nguồn: arts.guardian.co.uk
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