Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. He is of course famous for his science and history changing opus magnus, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. He is also known for his interest in finches, giant tortoises, barnacles, and insectivorus plants. It is not widely known though his revulsion for one animal seen in the Galapagos Islands during his visit on the Beagle.
The "imps of darkness" he refers to are the species of marine iguana seen during his travels.
Although Darwin himself did not coin the term, he saw it fitting for such a bizarre animal. Others have been fascinated by them as well. Herman Melville, in his novella, Las Encantadas writes:
Happy birthday Mr. Darwin. Thank you for your contributions to the understanding of life on this planet.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)