Glandular heads

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Glandular heads
Drusenkopf (Conolophus subcristatus) on Seymour Norte

Drusenkopf ( Conolophus subcristatus ) on Seymour Norte

Superordinate : Scale lizards (Lepidosauria)
Order : Scale reptiles (Squamata)
without rank: Toxicofera
without rank: Iguana (Iguania)
Family : Iguanas (Iguanidae)
Genre : Glandular heads
Scientific name
Fitzinger , 1843

Conolophus ( Conolophus ) or Galapagos land iguanas are a genus endemic to the Galapagos Islands living lizards .

The name Drusenkopf is the translation of the Latin name "Conolophus" and comes from the numerous small cone-like shields with which its head is armored like a crystal gland from the inside. Druse comes from the Old High German gland or bump.


Charles Darwin once described the glandular heads not very positively: "[...] they are ugly animals, of a yellowish orange beneath, and of a brownish-red color above: from their low facial angle they have a singularly stupid appearance." [...] they are ugly animals, with a yellowish orange below and a brownish red color above: the small angle between the line from the nostril to the ear and that from the mouth opening to the forehead gives them an extraordinarily stupid appearance. ")

Glandular heads are up to 1.25 meters long. They have a short, rounded tail that lacks the breakpoints typical of its mainland relatives, which are used to shed the tail in order to distract predators. Their bodies are yellowish to brown, often spotted, with folds of skin on their necks, and they have a crest of horn cones on their necks that continue on their backs, but are smaller there.

Way of life

Males and females of land iguanas live in close communities. The male marks the territory by sitting clearly visible on a boulder. They dig a burrow to shelter.

The females lay 3 to 12 leather-like eggs which, buried in a hole in the ground, are hatched for about 50 days by the heat of the sun or geothermal energy.

You have a vegetable diet, e.g. B. of leaves, fruits, sprouts and flowers of the opuntia , which have developed tall tree-like growth forms in the Galapagos Islands, presumably to protect against Galápagos giant tortoises and land iguanas. But they also eat animal food.

Small and medium-sized ground finches free the land iguanas from ticks and other animal parasites. The iguanas respond to the approach of the finches by standing high on their legs and lifting their tails and standing motionless so that the finches can easily reach any point.

Land iguanas are not shy, so you can easily approach them within a few meters and feed them.


Glandular heads are closely related to the marine iguanas ( Amblyrhynchus cristatus ), which are also endemic to the Galápagos Islands , which differ from the land iguana mainly by their long, laterally compressed oar tails.

There are three types:

Symbolic meaning

The Druze head was seen by many demonstrators and social critics of the 20th century as a symbol of political resistance and extra-parliamentary opposition, as well as one against extremism, both from the left and from the right.


  1. a b c d e f g Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt : Galápagos. Noah's Ark in the Pacific (= Piper 1232). 8th edition, revised and expanded new edition 1991, (1st edition of this edition). Piper, Munich et al. 1991, ISBN 3-492-11232-3 .
  2. ^ Gabriele Gentile, Howard Snell: Conolophus marthae sp.nov. (Squamata, Iguanidae), a new species of land iguana from the Galápagos archipelago. In: Zootaxa . 2201, 2009, pp. 1–10 ( digitized PDF; 582.08 kB ).

Web links

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