PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone nigra vandenburghi) gathered at night under moonlight on the rim of a volcano, sleeping in volcanically heated thermal pools. This keeps them warm overnight at altitude and allows them to start grazing earlier in the day. The pools are found on the rim of the Alcedo volcano on the Isabela island of the Galapagos archipelago. Local vegetation is poisoned by volcanic minerals in the soil. Alcedo is the site of successful efforts to remove invasive introduced species (principally goats) which threaten the stable ecology of the caldera and the long-term future of the Galapagos giant tortoises.
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