WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIZARDS AND TUATARAS?
Tuatara means “spiny back” in Maori. Tuataras are reptiles but they are very different to lizards, crocodiles and amphibians (frogs, salamanders). Tuatara have a primitive body structure that supports the theory that they are one of the oldest and most un-evolved species, having hardly changed in the past 220 million years. Anatomy: Tuatara have a scaly loose skin which is soft to the touch. They have a variable body temperature which enables them to survive in cold climates. The difference between lizards and tuataras are in their skeletal structure. They have an extra bone on the side of the skull that anchors the bone to which the lower jaw is hinged. On its eye there are three eyelids. Its scales are unlike those of other reptiles because they do not have free edges or overlap. Otherwise they look somewhat like an iguana. Diet: They feed on wetas, worms, lizards, millipedes and small seabirds.
DO TUATARAS REALLY HAVE A THIRD EYE?
“Third eye” in the forehead of tuataras and many lizards that can register light intensity and may help to regulate body temperature.” It has also been suggested that it can sense length of day, this would be helpful to tell when the time of year it is for breeding!!
ARE THERE ANY REPTILES THAT FLY OR GLIDE?
No, but there’s a group of snakes called flying snakes. There are five different species. Most of them are about three to four feet long (1 to 1.2 meters.) They can be found in trees in the lowland tropical rainforests of Southeast and South Asia. Flying snakes don’t have wings. They ‘fly’ by flattening their bodies from head to tail when they are in air. To do this, they suck in their gut and form a U-shaped half-cylinder with their entire body. They hold their tail stiffly upwards and twist their tail from side to side for balance – it looks like they are swimming in air. By doing that they can cross as much as 100 meters. As graceful as it looks, the snakes always crash-land very clumsily. As far as lizards go… Flying Lizard. Southeast Asian lizards of the genus Draco have also evolved gliding ability. These lizards use skin “wings” which are extended by elongated ribs.