2 mins

10 breathtaking images of the Galápagos' iconic wildlife

World-renowned wildlife photographer Tui De Roy shares a snapshot of her latest book, which captures the Galápagos' creatures great and small as we've never seen them before...

(Tui De Roy)
Sally-lightfoot crabs shelter from crashing waves at high tide, Fernandina (Tui De Roy)

Sally-lightfoot crabs shelter from crashing waves at high tide, Fernandina (Tui De Roy)

Strange bedfellows – both endemic to Española Island, a mockingbird checks out a saddleback tortoise (Tui De Roy)

Strange bedfellows – both endemic to Española Island, a mockingbird checks out a saddleback tortoise (Tui De Roy)

During long dry periods, the old giants spend most of their time sleeping in the dust (Tui De Roy)

During long dry periods, the old giants spend most of their time sleeping in the dust (Tui De Roy)

A female green turtle hangs almost motionless, resting deep within a warm mangrove labyrinth, Fernandina (Tui De Roy)

A female green turtle hangs almost motionless, resting deep within a warm mangrove labyrinth, Fernandina (Tui De Roy)

A blue-footed booby pair’s courtship dance is as exuberant as it is endearing, Santa Cruz (Tui De Roy)

A blue-footed booby pair’s courtship dance is as exuberant as it is endearing, Santa Cruz (Tui De Roy)

A Galápagos hawk flies over sulfur fumaroles on Alcedo Volcano, where vegetation softens the contour of the ageing caldera, Isabela (Tui De Roy)

A Galápagos hawk flies over sulfur fumaroles on Alcedo Volcano, where vegetation softens the contour of the ageing caldera, Isabela (Tui De Roy)

(Tui De Roy)

(Tui De Roy)

Despite their dragon-like appearances, during 10 months of the year marine iguanas are the most placid, most congenial animals on the face of the Earth.

Not so come breeding time, around November and December on the central and western islands, or January for the southern ones.

With mating hormones raging, every large male, having slept and basked in friendly piles all year, suddenly feels the need to drive off all others marginally smaller than himself. Lesser individuals quickly flee while the largest ‘prime’ males stake out tiny territories within a lek system made up of various other dominant rivals awaiting the favours of breeding females.

For those of equal size and strength, to gain a space in this coveted area there is only one solution: battle. This is as much a test of strength and determination as it is of endurance, head-butting, wrestling, biting. I’ve seen battles last four or five hours straight, others rage right into the night, when iguanas normally become lethargic.

At last the loser slinks away, exhausted and humiliated but not seriously injured. Maybe next year luck will come his way.

– Tui De Roy

A juvenile bullseye pufferfish picks dead skin from an old marine iguana resting in the shallows after feeding offshore, Santa Cruz (Tui De Roy)

A juvenile bullseye pufferfish picks dead skin from an old marine iguana resting in the shallows after feeding offshore, Santa Cruz (Tui De Roy)

At the northwestern tip of Fernandina’s shoreline, Cape Douglas offers little more than seaweed, sunshine and a few patches of sand, exactly what marine iguanas need to thrive (Tui De Roy)

At the northwestern tip of Fernandina’s shoreline, Cape Douglas offers little more than seaweed, sunshine and a few patches of sand, exactly what marine iguanas need to thrive (Tui De Roy)

A playful fur seal picks his way among basking marine iguanas, Fernandina (Tui De Roy)

A playful fur seal picks his way among basking marine iguanas, Fernandina (Tui De Roy)

See more of Tui's Galápagos photography

These images were taken from A Lifetime in Galápagos by photographer Tui De Roy, published by Bloomsbury Wildlife in hardback. Available from Bloomsbury for£40.

Buy The Book

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