Sunday, 5 May 2013

Species of the Day: Regal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare)

This fascinating lizard is found in the deserts of Mexico and the American Southwest. This spiky predator lives almost solely off of ants. A voracious hunter, the Regal Horned Lizard can consume thousands of ants a day and up to 2500 in a single sitting. This small lizard burrows deep in the winter to escape the cold days while it spends summer days hunting in the heat. 

To warm up in the morning the Regal Horned Lizard buries itself neck deep in the sand and circulates all its bodies blood through its head into a sack behind the eyes. The horned lizards cold blood then warms up in the head, from where it is recirculated to the rest of the body. This way the Regal Horned Lizard can warm up its body without exposing more than its heavily armoured head. 

Phrynosoma solare also uses the blood sacks behind its eyes for one of the reptile world's most amazing defence mechanism. When threatened the Regal Horned Lizard shoots blood out of its eyes up to meters away with amazing accuracy. This video (although terribly narrated) demonstrates this ability very well. Enjoy:

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