The Texas Horned Lizard Essay

964 Words4 Pages
The Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, is a species in the lizard family, Phrynosomatidae, which has ten genera and a diverse group of over 125 different species (Hammerson 2007; Cossel Jr. 1997). Lizards in this family can be found in Mexico, Panama, most areas of the United States and parts of Canada (Heying 2003). Phrynosomatids range in a variety of forms, but are most commonly distinguished by their small size (less than 10 cm long), rough and keeled scales, spikes on their bodies, and the fusion of the sides of their teeth to the sides of their inner jawbones, known as pleurodont teeth (Heying 2003). The thirteen species in the horned lizard genus, Phrynosoma, can be identified more specifically by their flattened bodies…show more content…
It has developed highly efficient mechanisms for collecting water on the ground and moisture in the air and transporting it across its skin to its mouth (Map 2010). The Texas horned lizard has hinged scales, which are interconnected to a system of tubular canals located in the thin keratin layer of its skin (Sherbrooke et al 2007). When water or moisture comes into contact with the its scales, capillary forces pull water into the lizard’s tubular canals, which is then transported to the mouth for consumption (Sherbrooke et al 2007). The lizard’s hinged scales have also adapted a greater efficiency of absorbing water by increasing their surface area, which allows for more water to be absorbed and transported at once (Sherbrooke et al 2007). Furthermore, the lizard has adapted a “buccal pumping” mechanism in its mouth, which allows it to pump a constant flow of water into its mouth to drink (Map 2010; Sherbrooke et al 2007). It has modified structures around its mouth that, combined with certain tongue and jaw movements, allows it to lower the water pressure and pull a constant flow of water through its tubular canals and directly into its mouth (Map 2010; Sherbrooke et al 2007). The Texas horned lizard also exhibits behavioral adaptations that have increased its water-absorbing efficiency. To help increase the capture of water from its scales, the lizard lowers its head and body to the ground and sticks out its legs to increase the surface area of its body in

More about The Texas Horned Lizard Essay

Open Document