Moisture harvesting system in thorny devils - Clara García Guardiola
Clara García Guardiola
Moisture harvesting system in thorny devils
Thorny devil (Moloch horridus)
Inhabiting deserts and semi-deserts of Australia these specialized lizards harvest environmental moisture using their skin.
The skin channels transporting water are formed by partially overlapping scales with a narrow opening on their superficial side (A), by which a semi-tubular system of channels is formed extending over the lizard's body surface.
Channels are hierarchically structured as a large channel, between irregularly hexagonal scales (B) and spines (C), sub-divided by protusions (Oberhäutchen structures – D) into smaller sub-capillaries. The large channel absorbs water whereas the sub-capillaries extend the transport distance. Water is transported to the mouth by capillary action (blue and white arrows showing water direction), where active ingestion occurs by jaws movements.
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