Isla Coronados

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Isla Coronados
Isla Coronados is located in Mexico
Isla Coronados
Isla Coronados (Mexico)
Location Gulf of California
Loreto Municipality
Coordinates 26°07′8.52″N 111°16′26.73″W / 26.1190333°N 111.2740917°W / 26.1190333; -111.2740917
Highest elevation 289 m (948 ft)
State Baja California Sur
Population Uninhabited

Isla Coronados, also known as Coronado Island or "Smith Island", is an island in the Gulf of California east of the Baja California Peninsula in Baja California Sur state, Mexico.

The island is uninhabited and is part of the Loreto Municipality.

The island is approximately 7 kilometers long, and it is dominated by Volcan (volcano) Coronado on the northern end. The date of the last eruption of the volcano is not known, but gas and steam activity was last recorded in 1539.


Isla Coronados — similar to nearby Isla Mitlan and Isla Calavera - has an arid climate and is sparsely vegetated. Despite the harshness of the environment, sea lion colonies can be found on the island, and the Bahia de los Angeles is a popular sport fishing location. Partly in response to increased environmental pressure on the islands from both fishing and tourism, local groups developed a management and conservation plan for the islands in the bay, with international support, in the late 1990s.

Marine life[edit]

The island is an important piece of the ecology of the Gulf of California. In 1940, marine biologist Ed Ricketts, together with his friend, author John Steinbeck, conducted an expedition and collecting trip in the Gulf of California (sometimes known as the Sea of Cortez) to explore the rich ecology of the intertidal zone. Coronado Island and the Bahia de los Angeles were part of that expedition. The resulting book by Steinbeck and Ricketts, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, remains a classic document of the natural history and ecology of the Gulf of California.

Today, the uninhabited island is a refuge with a rich marine assemblage, especially when compared to other, unprotected parts of the Gulf. This image provides hints of the diverse marine environment around the island. Most of the coast is steep and rocky, but lighter blue lagoons, especially along the western coast, provide shallower, protected environments that are biologically robust. Offshore, internal waves and complex surface currents facilitate mixing of the water, important for nutrient delivery to the coastal environments. These water patterns are outlined by sunglint (light reflecting off of the water surface back towards the camera on board the International Space Station). The sunglint patterns are due to wind and currents, which roughen the water surface and enhance reflection, and surfactants that decrease the surface tension and roughness, resulting in regions of dark, smooth water.

Reptilian life[edit]

Isla Coronados has 16 species of reptiles, including Aspidoscelis hyperythra (Orange-throated Whiptail), Aspidoscelis tigris (Tiger Whiptail), Callisaurus draconoides (Zebra-tailed Lizard), Coleonyx variegatus (Western Banded Gecko), Coluber fuliginosus (Baja California Coachwhip), Crotalus enyo (Baja California Rattlesnake), Crotalus ruber (Red Diamond Rattlesnake), Dipsosaurus dorsalis (Desert Iguana), Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha (Coast Night Snake), Hypsiglena slevini (Baja California Night Snake), Phyllodactylus nocticolus (Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko), Sauromalus slevini (Slevin's Chuckwalla), Sceloporus orcutti (Granite Spiny Lizard), Sceloporus zosteromus (Baja California Spiny Lizard), Urosaurus nigricaudus (Black-tailed Brush Lizard), and Uta stansburiana (Common Side-blotched Lizard).  [1]


Further reading[edit]

  • Steinbeck, John. Ricketts, Edward F. (1941). Sea of Cortez: A leisurely journal of travel and research, with a scientific appendix comprising materials for a source book on the marine animals of the Panamic faunal province. Reprinted by Paul P Appel Pub. 1971. ISBN 0-911858-08-3