The Galapagos Islands are of some commercial importance to Ecuador, on account of the guano and the orchilla moss found on them and exported to Europe.
The origin and development of these conditions, in islands so distinctly oceanic as the Galapagos, have given its chief importance to this archipelago since it was visited by Darwin in the "Beagle."
The Galapagos archipelago possesses a rare advantage from its isolated situation, and from the fact that its history has never been interfered with by any aborigines of the human race.
"Nearly all authorities agree that it is not probable that they have crossed the wide sea between the Galapagos Islands and the American continent, although, while they are helpless, and quite unable to swim, they can float on the water.
If their ancestors had been carried out to sea once or twice by a flood and safely drifted as far as the Galapagos Islands" (Wallace), "they must have been numerous on the continent" (Rothschild and Hartert).
Salvin, "On the Avifauna of the Galapagos Archipelago," Trans.
(1876); Sclater and Salvin, "Characters of New Species collected by Dr Habel in the Galapagos Islands," Proc. Zool.
Wallace, Geographical Distribution of Animals (New York, 1876); Theodor Wolf, Ein Besuch der Galapagos Inseln (Heidelberg, 1879); and paper in Geographical Journal, vi.
Agassiz, "The Galapagos Islands," Bull.
Robinson, "Flora of the Galapagos Islands," Proc. Amer.
Harrisi of the Galapagos, survive its quite recent discovery?
- Excepting towards the north, where, in Mexico, it meets, and inosculates with the Nearctic subregion, the boundaries of the Neotropical region are simple enough to trace, comprehending as it does the whole of South America and all Central America; besides including the Falkland islands to the south-east and the Galapagos under the equator to the west, as well as the Antilles or West India islands up to the Florida channel.
Blue mud prevails in large areas of the Pacific Ocean from the Galapagos Islands to Acapulco.
It has been found sporadically near the Aleutian Islands, between the Philippines and Marianne Islands and to the south of the Galapagos group. It is made up to a large extent of the siliceous frustules of diatoms. It is usually yellowish-grey and often straw-coloured when wet, though when dried it becomes white and mealy.
The most important group is the Galapagos Islands.
Diatom ooze has been found in detached areas between the Philippine and Mariana islands, and near the Aleutian and Galapagos groups, forming an exception to the general rule of its occurrence only in high latitudes.
The following islands may be classified as oceanic, but not with any of the three main divisions: the Bonin Islands, north of the Marianas, belonging to Japan; Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands (to New South Wales); Easter Island (to Chile); the Galapagos Islands (to Ecuador).
The majority live on broken ground, with or without much vegetation; many are arboreal and many are true desert animals, while a few are more or less aquatic; one, the leguan of the Galapagos, Amblyrhynchus, even enters the sea.
The family ranges all through the neotropical region, inclusive of the Galapagos and the Antilles, into the southern and western states of North America.
Conolophus subcristatus and Amblyrhynchus cristatus inhabit the Galapagos; the former feeds upon cactus and leaves, the latter is semi-marine, diving for the algae which grow below tide-marks.
The Galapagos Islands belong to the republic of Ecuador, and form a part of the province of Guayas.
Elsewhere there are no fisheries of importance, except those of the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Islands were declared a dependency of the province of Guayas in 1885, but are practically independent and constitute a second territory under the administration of a jefe territorial appointed by the national executive.
On arriving at the Galapagos Islands the flag of Ecuador was replaced by that of Japan and the vessel handed over to the representatives of that nation sent for the purpose.
P. ruber, entirely light vermilion, extends from Florida to Para and the Galapagos; P. chilensis s.
Fuliginosus, believed to be confined to the Galapagos, and L.
Furcatum, of which only two specimens, both believed to have come from the Galapagos, have been seen.
These marine lizards occur only in the Galapagos Islands, where they are never seen more than 20 yds.
A land species belonging to the allied genus Conolophus also occurs in the Galapagos, which differs from most of its kind in forming burrows in the ground.
The most northerly limit of the penguins' range in the Atlantic is Tristan d'Acunha, and in the Indian Ocean Amsterdam Island, but they also occur off the Cape of Good Hope and along the coast of Australia, as well as on the south and east of New Zealand, while in the Pacific one species at least extends along the west coast of South America and to the Galapagos; but north of the equator none are found.
Mendiculus, which occurs in the Galapagos, and therefore has the most northerly range of the whole group, alone needs notice here.