High in the Peruvian Andes, a lizard has actually declared the title of world’s greatest elevation reptile. The lizard was found as high as 5,400 meters in elevation, exposed to freezing temperature levels, extreme ultraviolet radiation and low oxygen, scientists report February 15 in Herpetozoa

In October 2020, zoologist José Cerdeña and coworkers rose Peru’s Chachani volcano, which increases 6,057 meters above water level. The group was searching for Liolaemus lizards, likewise called tree iguanas, and discovered them as the scientists climbed up above 5,000 meters.

” We observed something moving in between the rocks,” states Cerdeña, of the National University of Saint Augustine in Arequipa, Peru. “Initially we believed they were mice.” After getting a more detailed look, he and his group saw that the darting animals were in fact lizards, tentatively recognized as Liolaemus tacnae The types is understood to endure at high elevation locations in Peru, and a minimum of one population near Chachani was formerly identified some 4,000 meters above water level.

Survival in such prohibiting conditions is hard enough for mammals ( SN: 7/29/20). Cold-blooded reptiles deal with extra temperature level policy challenges, so records of reptiles this high are unusual. Previously, the greatest living reptile was a cold-hardy types of toad-headed agama lizard ( Phrynocephalus erythrurus) living on the Tibetan Plateau at 5,300 meters. The Andean lizard breaks the old record by 100 meters.

It’s rather fitting that the record goes to a types of Liolaemus lizard. The genus is extremely varied, with more than 270 types adjusted to a wide variety of environments all over South America.

Environment modification might have assisted in Liolaemus‘ status as a record holder, Cerdeña notes, as chillier conditions have actually pulled back up mountain peaks in the face of warming. ” It is possible that this lizard types started to colonize this elevation just recently,” he states.

The research study group’s next actions are to confirm the recognition of the lizard with physical and hereditary analysis, Cerdeña states. He likewise wishes to know more about the reptile’s physiology, which might hold tricks to its high-altitude way of life.


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