• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

How Lizards Can Breathe Underwater


May 27, 2023

Anoles can pull off impressive feats of underwater breathing. The secret, researchers located, is the lizard’s potential to “rebreathe” utilizing a bubble that types about its snout. (Photo: Adrien Chateignier, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND two.)

Some anole lizards can keep underwater for up to 20 minutes to evade predators, and now researchers have found their secret. Living on Earth’s Don Lyman reports that these lizards use a bubble of air about their snouts and rebreathe the bubble in and out.


CURWOOD: In a moment, zombie worms and other uncommon life types that emerge when a whale dies, but 1st this note on emerging science from Don Lyman.


LYMAN: Anoles – smaller tropical lizards located primarily in Central and South America, and the Caribbean – will often dive underwater when threatened. Some anoles can keep underwater for up to 20 minutes, but till lately it wasn’t recognized how they managed to keep submerged for so extended. In an work to uncover out, Chris Boccia, a doctoral student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and his colleagues, traveled to Costa Rica exactly where they captured 300 anoles of numerous species. Some of the experimental anoles have been located close to streams, although other individuals have been located away from streams. Boccia and his fellow researchers then dunked every lizard into containers of river water. Although they have been underwater, all of the anoles had a bubble of air about their snouts, and they appeared to breathe the bubble in and out. The lizards that have been located close to streams rebreathed the bubble much more frequently and stayed submerged longer than their land-primarily based relatives, Boccia and his colleagues reported in the Journal of Present Biology. Boccia mentioned that a single lizard was underwater for 18 minutes.

Scientists are nonetheless figuring out how anoles can rely on their snout bubbles for so extended devoid of operating out of oxygen. (Photo: Adrien Chateignier, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND two.)

By inserting a smaller oxygen sensor into the bubbles about the submerged lizards’ snouts, the researchers confirmed that the oxygen levels in the bubbles gradually decreased as the lizards breathed. Boccia suspects the anoles might be capable to keep submerged for many minutes by slowing down their metabolism, as a result lowering the require for oxygen. He also speculates that as oxygen levels in the snout bubble drop and carbon dioxide levels rise, the bubble might get much more oxygen by releasing CO2 and taking up dissolved oxygen from the water, but much more study is necessary to confirm that hypothesis. That is this week’s note on emerging science. I’m Don Lyman.



Study the complete study

Get a close-up appear at anoles’ snout bubbles


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