Human-kind is working diligently to restore the populations of the giant Galapagos tortoise but there is a tiny menace threatening the 10th largest land animal on earth.
The Giant Galapagos Tortoise Can’t Escape This PestA major threat to the giant Galapagos tortoise has been discovered in the form of a mosquito. The black salt marsh mosquito normally feeds on mammals and a few odd birds. They are thought to have originated from mainland South America but now, apparently have adapted and developed a taste for reptile blood. Studies of the blood samples obtained from the guts of mosquitoes from the Galapagos Islands have shown that they are currently feeding on both the iguana and giant Galapagos tortoise.
Reason For Extreme Precautions
When we visited the Galapagos Islands this past summer, I was amazed at the precautions being taken to avoid any type of new infestation to the islands. On our plane, the over-head storage compartments were sprayed with insecticide to ensure there were no insect eggs attached or carried in luggage. Then when we arrived on the tarmac we were immediately escorted over a wash pad where we had to clean the bottoms of our shoes to ensure we did not carry soil with insect eggs or larvae.
There is a message we all need to understand when we are visiting such isolated islands. Species living isolation have become highly adapted to their limited environment and we need to be careful not to introduce any new species that can upset a delicate ecosystem that has been established.
Hopefully continued research of all the species on the islands will continue to reveal threats to the indigenous species.
Maddalena Environmental Inc.