Biodiversity

Thursday, May 11, 2006

WHY REPTILES ARE BETTER ADAPTED TO A TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENT THAN AMPIBIANS

Reptiles are cold blooded animals (ectothermic). Reptiles are referred to as cold blooded they cannot generate their own heat so they have to get heat from outside i.e. the sun (1). Reptiles rely mostly on the environment to regulate their internal temperature, for example they move between sun and shade. They also move warmed blood into "their body core, while pushing cool blood to their periphery" (1). Since reptiles lack an internal heating mechanism and this becomes beneficial to them sometimes because it allows reptiles to survive on much less food (they do not have enough energy).

Lizards from the Scincomorpha family, which include "skinks, often have shiny, iridescent scales that appear moist" (2). However, like all other lizards, they are dry-skinned and generally prefer to avoid water but they can live in water mostly for their survival. All lizards are able to swim if needed for example if they fall inside the water by mistake they will swim in order to safe their lives. However, they do not feel comfortable in the aquatic environments but for some lizards they enjoy the aquatic life (2). For example marine iguana (a lizard which live in the water) when it is cold it is unable to move effectively, which makes it more vulnerable to predators. Since they cannot maintain their body temperature; they depend mostly on the sun. Marine iguanas are very aggressive against their predators in order to protect themselves before they have warmed up since they are unable to run away(they do not have any energy to fight back or escape) (3).

The physiology of frogs is generally like that of other "amphibians but differs from other terrestrial vertebrates" (5) because frog have a permeable skin and they sometimes use their skin to breath. The skin of a frog allows them to breathe largely since they can breath through their skin. Oxygen is dissolved in an aqueous film on the skin and passes straight to the blood. Their skin must remain moist at all times. The skin of a frog makes frogs to be susceptible to many toxins especially while they are on land because if the skin is permeable means that everything can pass through the skin into the body(4). Reptiles skin mostly consists of scale and it is not permeable like frog's skin. There is a lack of moisture on land so in order for amphibians to survive they require a lot of mosture unlike the reptiles which have adapted to live on land. Ampibians depend mostly on the amount of mosture available unlike the reptiles.

Many frogs are able to absorb water directly from the source through the skin, especially around the pelvic area which makes them more vulnerable to absorb a lot of poisonous gases from the atmosphere. The permeability of the skin of a frog can also result in water loss especially on land unlike the reptiles (3). Reptiles have a skin which mostly consists of scales which protect the reptiles from losing water than the reptiles (5).

The only thing that the amphibians and reptiles have in common is that they are both ectothermic- can not maintain their body temperature. They maintain their body temperature by basking on the sun. They absorb a lot of heat so that they can be active. The problem in amphibians is that they can not survive on land for longer periods unlike the reptiles which basically live on land. When the amphibians are on land their skin loses a lot of water. When amphibians are on land mostly they absorb a lot of heat within a short period of time so that by the time they dry out they should have collected enough heat and they also minimize the period of lethargy( they can inhale lot of dangerous gases) after emerging from the water. Reptiles can maintain and retain their water inside unlike amphibians.

Reference:

1. Wikipedia contributors. Reptiles [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 10, 02:57. UTC [cited 2006 May 10]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptiles
2. Wikipedia contributors. Lizards [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 10, 07:12. UTC [cited 2006 May 10]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizard
3. Wikipedia contributors. Anura [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 10, 02:38. UTC [cited 2006 May 10]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anura
4. Wikipedia contributors. Marine Iguana [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 8, 23:48. UTC [cited 2006 May 10]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Iguana
5. Wikipedia contributors. Vertebrate [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 7, 13:12. UTC [cited 2006 May 10]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebrate


Lethabo Mosomane
CSIR
Pretoria
0001
Tel: 27 12 841 2133
Fax: 27 12 842 3676
mail: lmosomane@csir.co.za
http://lmosomane.blogspot.com/

7 Comments:

  • Your referencing is improving but you still have not always used quotes to indicate copying more than four words verbatim from a reference. This is plagiarism.

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