A team of evolutionary biologists, including the faculty of the University of Binghamton State University in New York, have shown that some anaerobic lizards (or anaerobes) use air bubbles attached to their noses to breathe underwater again.This lizard lives on the banks of neotropical streams and often dives for shelter and stays underwater for 16 minutes.
Lindsay Sweer, an assistant research professor of biological sciences at the University of Binhamton, recorded the behavior of this animal living in Costa Rica in 2019. She was shocked to see that this little reptile could be submerged in water for so long and used in GoPro water. Record. This behavior.
“The benefits of these small and slow-moving Western doctors avoiding poachers under the water are unimaginable – they’s hard to recognize!” Swirk said. “But the real question is how they can stay underwater for so long.”
In the experiment, they found that lizards, which can be considered semi-aquatic organisms, were able to breathe underwater by “recreating” the exhaust air, which was intelligently trapped in their skin and surrounding water.
“We found that semi-aquatic lizards breathe air into a bubble that attaches to the skin,” said Chris Bocia, a leading author of the Master of Science degree from the University of Toronto. “The lizard then breathes the air again. According to scuba diving technology, we breathe this action.”
The researchers believe that the hydrophobic skin they observed can be matched in all sample lizards, which promotes the repeated evolution of specific reproduction in regularly submerged species. The air-based regenerative system can improve diving performance by introducing dead space air into the lungs from the oral cavity or abdominal cavity, or by promoting the removal of carbon dioxide or by absorbing oxygen from the surrounding water (i.e., the “physical gill” system). The team used an oxygen sensor inside the reconstructed bubble to determine if the lizard had used oxygen from the bubble. The researchers found that the concentration of oxygen in its bubbles decreases with the passage of time, thus supporting this view.
Different types of semi-aquatic lizards have been found to evolve to extract oxygen from the bubbles they breathe, causing other exciting problems. For example, the longer a lizard sinks, the lower the rate at which oxygen from the bubbles is used. This explains why the mole’s metabolic rate decreases with increasing diving time. Alexandra Martin, a co – author and graduate student at the University of Benhamton, is currently exploring whether body cooling during diving could help explain this phenomenon.
“Reconstruction has never been recognized as a natural mechanism for vertebrate breathing underwater,” said Luke Mahler, assistant professor of EEB at the University of Toronto and supervisor of Bosia’s thesis. “But our work shows that this is possible. Such lizards have repeatedly applied this tactic to species used by aquatic life.”
Swerk and Mahler are planning future research projects to better understand the physiological and behavioral evolution associated with respiration. Annals is an amazing group of lizards, and the variety of ways this taxa can take advantage of its environmental benefits is incredible.