A Lizard In Costa Rica Can Stay Underwater For Up To 16 Minutes

Posted: Dec 23 2018, 1:28pm CST | by , Updated: Dec 23 2018, 1:33pm CST, in Latest Science News

 

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A Lizard in Costa Rica can Stay Underwater up to 16 Minutes
Credit: Smithsonian Channel

Costa Rican lizard remain underwater for long periods by blowing bubbles.

For the first time, researchers have filmed a lizard that can breathe underwater. The lizard that lives in Costa Rica can actually dive into the water and stay there for as long as 16 minutes.

A duo of biologists Neil Losin and Nate Dappen has captured the lizard’s remarkable adaptation to underwater life and revealed the mechanism by which the species holds its breath under water. Footage shows that lizard species Anolis oxylophus can scuba dive by blowing air bubbles. These bubbles can be seen appearing above river anole’s snout while it sits atop underwater rocks.

Presumably, the bubbles store oxygen. River anoles re-breathe large bubbles of air that allows them to remain submerged until they escape a threat on land - something that had never been recorded before.

"We saw this re-breathing behavior that hadn't been documented or described before.” Losin told Live Science.

Anolis, a widespread but little-known group of lizards, is found across the American tropics. Researchers already know that one species of anoles found in Costa Rice can jump into the water and remain underwater for long periods. However, its specific mechanism had remained unknown.

To better understand their behavior, researchers traveled to the location and uncovered how a tiny lizard has evolved the surprising ability to breath underwater. When they filmed a submerged female anole on the river bottom for nearly 10 minutes, they found a bubble repeatedly expanding and contracting at the top of her head.

"It demonstrates one of the things that biologists often find, which is that there's so much we don't know about nature.” Dappen said.

Bubble production is not unique to this species. Several aquatic insects and spiders also posses this unusual ability, but this may be the only example of re-breathing in land animals with backbones.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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