Guest Video: Wolf Volcano and Pink Iguanas (April 5, 2022)

It’s not an April Fool’s joke, honest!

This video will raise a few questions in your mind. At least it did for me, and I’ll share the answers I found below.

Here’s an amazing fact that popped up during research: those iguanas are only found on Wolf Volcano, Isabela Island in the Galápagos — they inhabit about 10 square miles on the fire mountain’s north and west slopes.

I think this might be their last stand, as the species, though recently discovered, is old, perhaps older even than some of the islands.

This video was uploaded five months ago; in it, the conservationists estimate there are 211 iguanas left.

That’s all there are in the world, then. They’re facing the extinction vortex.

And Wolf Volcano has been erupting since January.

That black mass in the background at the crater rim is a lava dome left by an eruption in 1982, per the Global Volcanism Program.

The main question, of course, is why are those lizards pink; why is their skin transparent?

I couldn’t find a paper that directly addressed this, but this article about another transparent tropical critter suggests that it may be protective — at least for the frog —
since it breaks up the animal’s outline.

Where is Wolf Volcano?, you might be wondering. The Global Volcanism Program has you covered.

Are the lizards doomed? Only in the sense that they are a tiny population, and so, much more vulnerable to illness and disasters.

According to an initial evaluation (Spanish), the current eruption shouldn’t affect them much.

People also are watching out for the “rosadas”:

What’s happening at Wolf today?

You’ve got me there. A search (Spanish) of the Ecuadorian monitoring website only turned up a couple bulletins about increased seismicity in January.

However, satellites are monitoring this extremely remote, uninhabited area, and the last heat signature is very weak, which is why the poster speculates about an end to the 84-day eruption:

Update, April 5, 2022, 10:29 a.m., Pacific: Just found this official update via Twitter! Basically, it describes moderate activity and decreased levels of unrest, which is good for the “rosadas”.

Featured image: Wolf (foreground) and Darwin volcanoes, NASA via Wikimedia/Iggy, by Rimini via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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