Anole Lizards Can Breathe Underwater

Anole Lizards Can Breathe Underwater

Researchers from the University of Toronto wanted to know how anole lizards could stay underwater for up to 18 minutes. To study them, the scientists went to Costa Rica and captured lizards in 32 species of the Anolis genus. They found that anole lizards can breathe underwater.

Their study showed that all species of anole lizards breathe air trapped around their snouts while submerged. The skin of these lizards is hydrophobic (water repellent) and traps a thin film of air between the water and the skin. Because of the lizard’s design, the trapped air ends up in a bubble over its nose. When the lizard inhales, the air bubble deflates. When the lizard exhales, the film traps the air around its nose until the anole breathes in again. You could say the lizard has a built-in “scuba-diving” system allowing it to breathe underwater.

This is another example of very specialized equipment built into living things allowing life to exist in challenging environments. The more we learn about the creation, the more we see specialized systems that enable planet Earth to support an incredible variety of life.

Anole lizards can breathe underwater, and the various species share this survival design. The researchers call it “macroevolutionary convergence.” We call it a shared body design for survival with a built-in design for knowing how to use it. Specialized equipment and behavior show evidence of intelligence in the design of the different varieties of life we see around us. As Romans 1:20 says, “We can know there is a God through the things He has made.”

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: American Scientist, November/December 2021, page 336. The scientific article is published in the journal Current Biology.