Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lizards Lizards Lizards

Why does anyone go to lovely tropical coastal Ecuador? The lizards, of course. This is probably the most popular tourist activity right behind hiking in the cloud forest by yourself in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, staying at the beach during this time of year was a very different experience.

Fortunately, the only day the sun decided to show up was during our visit to Parque Nacional Machalilla which is Spanish for "lizard heaven." The park is located in a dry forest and happens to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador within its borders. I don't know how people ever make it to the beach when you literally encounter hundreds of lizards on your way there.
Just one of many beautiful distractions. 

One of the actual reasons for going to the coast was to look at all the primordial creatures that live in tide pools. My opinion on tide pools and their residents hasn't changed since the last time I was there, but this sea slug was quite funky. 
Just a pretty nudibranch

Despite the lack of sun for the majority of the trip, the lizards were still out and about, albeit in lesser numbers. But that didn't stop this beautiful gecko from showing up. Or me from watching this same exact individual for three days straight.

His less-pretty nocturnal cousin below is probably quite jealous, but could probably devour him if it wanted; it's about three times larger.
If I took less artsy fartsy pictures you might be able to see the 
size difference between these two lizards.

If you're sick of lizards by now, too bad. Here's another. But this is no ordinary lizard! This is the ancestor of the most famous Galapagos animal: the lava lizards. Forget what you heard about the tortoises, marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies, these are definitely more interesting and widely-appreciated. This also serves as the perfect segue into the next horribly delayed post: The Galapagos.
I ordered my drink 30 minutes ago...
She's been waiting a while for me to write something too. 

Lizards in order of appearance: Ameiva septemlineata, Gonatodes caudiscutatus, Phyllodactylus reissi, and Microlophus occipitalis. A few more pictures here. 

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