Amblyrhynchus cristatus ssp. mertensi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Iguanidae

Scientific Name: Amblyrhynchus cristatus ssp. mertensi Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1962
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English San Cristóbal Marine Iguana, Galapagos Marine Iguana, Sea Iguana
French Amblyrhynche à crête, Iguane marin
Spanish Iguana Marina

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2ce; C2b ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Nelson, K., Snell, H. & Wikelski, M.
Reviewer(s): Hudson, R. & Alberts, A. (Iguana Red List Authority)
The marine iguana Amblyrhynchus cristatus is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. A. c. mertensi is found on San Cristobal and Santiago Islands. Extent of occurrence is estimated at less than 100 km² and area of occupancy at less than 10 km². San Cristobal Island was the site of a shipwreck in January 2001, which spilled diesel oil/bunker fuel along the southwest coast of the island.

Although A. c. mertensi is found on two different islands, the population is low on Santiago and unknown (but probably low) on San Cristobal. The 2001 oil spill is likely to have caused high (around 60%) mortality to the San Cristobal population, based on the location of the spill and its effects on other nearby islands (Santa Fe). feral dogs and cats associated with the human population pose an ongoing threat for marine iguanas on San Cristobal.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:A. c. mertensi occurs on San Cristobal and Santiago Islands. Extent of occurrence is estimated at less than 1000 km² and area of occupancy at less than 10 km².
Countries occurrence:
Ecuador (Galápagos)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Average generation length is five years for females and 12 years for males. The total population is not known.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The world's only marine lizard species. Adults and juveniles occur on rocky coast and intertidal zones. Adult females can be found nesting up to 2 km inland and adult males can be found in marine waters, up to depths of 20 m.
Systems:Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): El Niño causes periodic dramatic (> 85%) mortality in A. cristatus. In 2000 extensive habitat contamination occurred after an oil spill. The population declined as a result of this spill. A. c. mertensi is also inder threat from predation by introduced species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A. cristatus is included on CITES Appendix II. It is under "Special Law" in the Galápagos and occurs in three protected areas: Galápagos National Park and National Marine Reserve; Galápagos Islands Man and Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO); and Galápagos Islands World Heritage Site.

Conservation actions recommended for the subspecies include: further surveys for the subspecies, taxonomic and limiting factor research, public education, control of introduced predators on the island, and monitoring of the population and habitat.

Citation: Nelson, K., Snell, H. & Wikelski, M. 2004. Amblyrhynchus cristatus ssp. mertensi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44176A10856296. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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