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The Thorny Devil (Moloch Horridus)by Mitchell
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Fake Head: The thorny devil has this lump of hard scales and spikes right below its actual head. This "head" serves as a defense mechanism against predators. The thorny devil tucks its head down and then the predator bites on the fake head until it realizes that it cannot eat the thorny devil and leaves. 1:16 for fake head. www.youtube.com This scary looking lizard gives the phrase "you little devil" a whole new meaning. See all National Geographic videos: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/?s...
Spikes: The thorny devil's main defense against predators is its spines all over its body. These spikes prevent most predators from being able to eat it.
Capillary Movement in order to drink. www.animalplanet.com On Animal Planet's
Food: The thorny devil eats only ants. It will spend all day just darting out its mouth and eating lots of ants in one place. When it comes to food, the thorny devil is incredibly patient, waiting until ants show up to satisfy its appetite.
Camouflage: The thorny devil's colors very much help it survive. It is a very difficult organism to spot on the dry desert sand. Their colors also change with the temperature, with brown or olive colors in the morning and light yellow colors later in the day.
The Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma): The horned lizard is very similar and closely related to the thorny devil. The horned lizard has spines just like the thorny devil just not as large. It also shares the same diet of only ants. Both of these lizards have been found to be very closely related to each other by body structure and features. www.reptilesofaz.org
Future Evolution: The two evolutionary changes that could happen over time are represented here. Due to a lack of ants, the thorny devil has needed to adapt to eat plants such as cacti, as well as ants. So now, if there is a day that the thorny devil cannot find a trail of ants, it is able to eat the cacti plant. This would also require the thorny devil's jaw and teeth to adapt to be able to eat the prickly plant. I was not able to show this but it would happen through the natural selection and changes in the population of ants. docs.google.com Thorny Devil Adaptations.jpg
Works Cited: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/moloch.html http://www.reptilechannel.com/media/lizards/lizard-species/meet-the-moloch.aspx.pdf http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Moloch_horridus/ http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/desert.htm Photos http://www.ausbcomp.com/a3dug/ThorneyDevil2.jpg http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/Moloch-PhrynoAnatPlot.GIF http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/Thorny_-_Christopher_Watson.jpg http://www.reptilesofaz.org/Graphics/Lizards/PHRMCA-2004.jpg http://media-1.web.britannica.com/eb-media//87/7787-050-97868E6E.jpg http://a-z-animals.com/media/animals/images/original/bearded_dragon1.jpg Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoduGti4G_k http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/other/videos/corwins-quest-thorny-devil.htm
The Girdle Tailed Lizard (Cordylus): The Girdle Tailed Lizard has some qualities that the horned lizard has but not all. This lizard has thick, overlapping scales to protect itself. Unlike the thorny devil and horned lizard, the girdle tailed lizard eats many different species of insects. media-1.web.britannica.com
Taking in Air: Another defense mechanism that the thorny devil has is to suck in air and puff itself up to intimidate predators.
Original Lizard: The Common Spiny Agama (Agama Hispida) The spiny agama lizard could have easily evolved into the thorny devil in order to adjust to the harsh desert. www.reptarium.cz
The Bearded Dragon: The Bearded Dragon (Pogona) The bearded dragon is thought to be a previous evolution to the thorny devil based on genetic information. a-z-animals.com
Habitat: Desert The desert is a very harsh and unforgiving place for an organism to live. Specifically in the Australian deserts where the thorny deserts live. There is very little rainfall throughout the year and the temperatures can reach 100 degrees easily, depending on the time of the year. The color for most hot deserts is brown, tan, or light yellow from the sand. It is amazing how such a small organism has adapted to its habitat that it lives in.
Thorny Devil Skeleton: The skeleton of the thorny devil looks very basic compared to its outside appearance. The skeleton itself is still very like the skeletons of the other lizards before it. www.ausbcomp.com
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