May 2016

Phrynosoma goodei, the Goode's Horned Lizard, with its body buried in sand in the Sonoran Desert of southwestern USA. Many horned lizard species use rapid, lateral-twisting head-body-tail vibrations to propel themselves quickly into subsurface to avoid visual detection by predators, to escape high temperatures on the surface, and to secure sleeping locations. Exiting these positions is frequently accomplished by first exposing the head as a way of visually assessing the surrounding environment and for solar heating of the unexposed body via circulating blood from the warming head.  Phrynospoma goodei is a member of the P. platyrhinos species complex that currently occupies one of the hottest and driest places on Earth. These lizards were able to adjust to these extreme climatic conditions as the Earth experienced rapid warming after the Last Glacial Maximum. Photo taken by Wade C. Sherbrooke in southwestern Arizona in August 1977.


Full paper here

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