June 5, 2023 5:18 pm

Anoles can pull off impressive feats of underwater breathing. The secret, researchers discovered, is the lizard’s potential to “rebreathe” employing 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 initial this note on emerging science from Don Lyman.


LYMAN: Anoles – tiny tropical lizards discovered primarily in Central and South America, and the Caribbean – will from time to time 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 obtain 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 a variety of species. Some of the experimental anoles had been discovered close to streams, even though other folks had been discovered away from streams. Boccia and his fellow researchers then dunked each and every lizard into containers of river water. Although they had 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 had been discovered close to streams rebreathed the bubble much more usually and stayed submerged longer than their land-primarily based relatives, Boccia and his colleagues reported in the Journal of Present Biology. Boccia stated that one particular lizard was underwater for 18 minutes.

Scientists are nonetheless figuring out how anoles can rely on their snout bubbles for so extended without having operating out of oxygen. (Photo: Adrien Chateignier, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND two.)

By inserting a tiny 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 may possibly be capable to keep submerged for many minutes by slowing down their metabolism, hence decreasing the have to have for oxygen. He also speculates that as oxygen levels in the snout bubble drop and carbon dioxide levels rise, the bubble may possibly acquire much more oxygen by releasing CO2 and taking up dissolved oxygen from the water, but much more study is required 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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