Galápagos Islands Scrub | WWF

Galápagos Islands Scrub

About the Area

About five million years ago, volcanoes formed the Galápagos Islands about 960 kms off the coast of South America. When Charles Darwin visited the archipelago in 1835, he observed the native species, which eventually led to his theories on natural selection.
The Galápagos Islands are widely known for the remarkable adaptive radiation shown by their plants and animals.

Both the flora and fauna display a high degree of endemism, as would be expected in such an isolated tropical archipelago.

Local Species
This ecoregion's 13 large and 115 smaller islands have such different elevations and wind patterns that many kinds of plant communities have formed.

The world's only equatorial albatross (waved albatross) and only equatorial penquin (Galapagos penquin) live on these islands. They are also home to the world's only marine iguanas.

Other species include Lechoso tree (Scalesia pendunculata), Galápagos giant tortoise (Geochelone elephantropus), Land iguana (Conolophus subcristatus), Galápagos hawk (Buteo galapoensis), and 13 Darwin's finches (Geospiza spp., Camarhynchus spp., Certhidea olivacea, and Platyspiza crassirostris). Additionally, there are seven species of "Lava lizard" in the arid lowlands, and six leaf-toed geckoes.

Threats include overgrazing by domestic and feral livestock, predation by exotic species, anthropogenic fires, poaching, over harvesting of marine resources, tourism, population pressures, and agriculture.


8,000 sq. km (3,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Deserts and Xeric Shrublands

Geographic Location:
Archipelago in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Ecuador

Conservation Status:

Quiz Time!

Why are vampire finches so called?

A population of sharp-billed ground finches has been nicknamed "vampire finches" for their habit of pecking blue-footed boobies until they bleed. They then drink the bird's blood.

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