Tuatara | Facts & Information
# Tuatara | Facts & Information
Tuatara | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Tuatara
Its closest relatives are ichthyosaurs and pterosaurs, animals that lived in the Mesozoic before the great dinosaurs.
TuataraTuatara is a fascinating animal that attracts attention through its unique characteristics and evolutionary history. This strange creature originates from New Zealand and is considered a true "living fossil". Its name comes from the Maori language and means "spiny-back". With an age of approximately 225 million years, tuatara has survived despite major changes in the surrounding environment.
One of the most notable characteristics of this animal are its mesmerizing eyes. Tuatara has two pairs of eyelids, and each eye has a movable eyelid and an ossified one. This gives them sensational vision, which helps them hunt in low light conditions or protect themselves from predators.
Tuatara is one of the few reptiles that survive in New Zealand and, surprisingly, is more closely related to extinct reptiles such as dinosaurs than to other living reptiles like lizards and snakes. In fact, tuatara is the only surviving species of the order Rhynchocephalia.
Anatomical features of tuatara are extremely interesting. Unlike most reptiles, it has a unique skull structure. Additionally, tuatara is the only reptile that snaps its jaw, similar to many birds. This characteristic has laid the foundation for theories that tuatara could be a missing link between reptiles and birds.
However, the most impressive aspect of tuatara is how it regulates its body temperature. Because these reptiles live in a temperate and surprisingly cold environment, they cannot internally control body temperature like mammals do. Thus, tuatara carefully avoids temperatures that are too low, being active generally when the external temperature is between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. In case the weather gets colder, tuatara takes refuge in underground burrows to maintain its body temperature at a constant level.
Although tuatara may seem like a dull creature, it has a very long life. This reptile can live from 60 to 100 years, making it one of the longest-living reptiles on the planet. Throughout its life, tuatara can regenerate its immune system multiple times and, furthermore, is not affected by age-related diseases. This unique feature has fascinated the scientific community and generated interest in studying the mechanisms that help maintain the health and longevity of this animal.
Regarding reproduction, tuatara is one of the reptiles that has a unique method of reproduction. Female tuatara mate once every few years and lay their eggs in very specific locations. These locations, called gunika nests, are found and marked by females with a specific scent, to easily find the area where they should deposit their eggs. This process is essential for conserving the species, as the tuatara population is relatively small and still faces difficulties in reproduction.
In conclusion, tuatara is one of the most interesting animals that inhabit our planet. With unique anatomical features, an extraordinarily long life, and special methods of reproduction, this strange animal continues to fascinate scientists worldwide. Although largely unknown to the general public, the importance of studying and conserving tuatara is crucial to understanding the evolution of fauna and the importance of biodiversity within ecosystems.
Now, this species, of the order Sphenodontia, is the only one to survive the changes produced by the meteorite impact responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
After 230 million years of hunting insects in the forest, the little animal is in trouble.
Biologists in New Zealand fear that soon there will be no more females to ensure the perpetuation of the species.
Tuatara is not a very active animal during the day and rightly so, considering that one specimen can reach 100 years, there is nothing to hurry.
At night, however, tuatara become active, being nocturnal hunters always looking for crickets and other insects.
When they get older, their teeth become dull, and animals begin to prefer softer food such as worms and slugs.
Like most reptiles, tuatara is ectothermic, which means that its body temperature depends on the outside, not being able to generate heat on its own.
However, the animal does not need a very hot environment to become active, the optimal body temperature being between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius, lower than that of other reptiles.
A tuatara can remain active even at 7 degrees Celsius, to hunt during the night, when other reptiles are at rest, but can not fight rats or dogs, which is why they no longer live on the mainland, migrating to an island where they are protected by law, but where it seems that they are not doing very well.
Although similar to a lizard, the tuatara has a unique anatomical conformation of the eyes and Jaws, which distinguishes it from other reptiles. It can also live in temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius, a rarity in the reptile class.
They are very sensitive to temperature when it comes to sex, because the sex of the chicken depends on the temperature of the egg.
At above 22 degrees Celsius it is very likely that the cub will emerge male, while at lower temperatures, the chances are higher that the cub will be a girl. This is how now, when the weather is hot, all the Cubs are males.
If the animals were able to migrate to higher and cooler altitudes they could cope with climate warming, but now they are stuck in a confined space. As a result of this phenomenon, specialists estimate that by 1085 there will be no female Tuatara.
In order to prevent extinction, New Zealand authorities recently transported 222 tuatara specimens to an area with cooler temperatures, where there is a chance that future Cubs will be females.
They also flaunt their dorsal crests and perform a dance around the female to conquer her. Because it does not have a penis, when the female allows it, the male performs a friction action for fertilization.
Tuatara specimens reach sexual maturity in 10-20 years, and when the mating period comes, the skin of the males darkens. A male named Henry, a new resident of the Southland Museum in Invercargill, New Zealand, First became a father at the age of 111. He and his partner, Mildred, 70, brought 11 cubs into the world.
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Tuatara | Facts & InformationTuatara | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Tuatara