Inhabitants of the Revillagigedo Islands
Due to their distance and exceptional geographic conditions, the Revillagigedo Islands are home to an extensive variety of endemic plants and animals. We would like to introduce you to some of the residents of this paradise in the Mexican Pacific, recently named Natural World Heritage by Unesco.
Socorro Dove (Zenaida graysoni)
It is one of the most emblematic species of birds in the archipelago, not only because it is such an unusual bird but due to its fragile state of conservation. In 1972, it was declared technically extinct on the islands as a result of the introduction of domestic cats. Fortunately, there are still around 200 specimens in zoos in Europe and the United States, and island reintroduction has already begun.
It can be recognized by its cinnamon-colored plumage with bluish and pinkish gray patches.
Socorro Blue Lizard (Urosaurus auriculatus)
Bright turquoise in color, it can be found both at sea level and near the top of Everman Volcano, on Socorro Island.
Like many species in the archipelago, it is endangered because its habitat was reduced by human activity, begun by Australian settlers in the 19th century.
According to the Revillagigedo Islands Biosphere Reserve Conservation and Management Program, among the numerous species of endemic fauna inhabiting the sanctuary are 15 bird species, 4 of land reptiles and 119 of arthropods.
Socorro Island Crab (Gecarcinus planatus)
Although it is not recognized as an endemic species of islands, its behavior and habits make it a crustacean worth mentioning. These crabs hide among the rocks and cavities during the day, but at sunset huge migratory groups of them can be spotted in the fig tree forests.
Socorro Parakeet (Aratinga holochlora)
Medium-sized with plumage displaying various tones of green with red and yellow patches, this beautiful bird exemplifies the natural adaptation of island animals, just as Charles Darwin observed during his trips to the Galápagos. This particular parakeet has a larger beak, shorter wing feathers and different vocalization than its relatives on the continent. It lives in forests on Socorro Island.
The Black-Winged Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris)
In the depths around San Benedicto Island is a formation known as the Boiler, which attracts a colony of 100 giant manta rays, one of the largest concentrations of the animal in the Pacific. The other two are found near Hawaii and Yap Island, in Micronesia.
Their fins can span up to 16 and a half feet, and their tail has no stinger, making them a favorite of divers and naturalists.
The Clarion Nightsnake (Hypsiglena unaocularus)
Unlike its relatives, this peculiar reptile is only active at night, yet the most noteworthy thing about it is that for 80 years it was ignored by science. It was first recorded in 1936, but because it wasn’t seen again, it was removed from herpetological listings. A 2013 expedition organized by the Smithsonian Institute and Mexico’s National University rediscovered and identified the 45-centimeter-long snake that slithers among volcanic rocks looking for insects and small lizards.