The Water-collecting Mechanism of Moloch horridus Re-examined Carl Gans, R. Merlin, and W. F. C. Blumer Division of Biological Sciences and Department of Physics, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 U.S.A. and Department of Anatomy, the University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia. Abstract. The Australian desert lizard, Moloch, has been reported to collect water by aposing its body to wet surfaces. This water passes through small open capillary channels over the integumentary surface to reach the mouth where it is swallowed. Experiments and scanning micrographs show that water collection and water transport are more complex and occur in different regions of the integument than described. Observations on other agamids from the same region indicate the extent to which agamid skin generally permits water passage; they allow a better definition of the specializations of Moloch. Introduction Moloch horridus is a spectacular agamid lizard restricted to desert areas of central and western Australia (WAiTE, 1929; PIANKA and PIANKA, 1970; COGGER, 1975). The species feeds on ants and occupies arid regions that lack any standing water and show but occasional rains. Moloch has long been a herpetological desideratum because of its strange shape. The small body is covered
Amphibia-Reptilia – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1982
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