October 21, 2014
An Interesting Adaptation
- as seen by -Avishai Shuter
The Mary River turtle of Australia may look like your average side-necked turtle. But, this endangered species has a remarkable adaptation that helps it survive.
This species is one of just a few turtles known to perform “cloacal breathing.” In most species, the cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only orifice for waste and reproduction. However, the Mary River turtle can actually breathe through it, too.
There’s a good reason for this. With this type of respiration, the Mary River turtle can stay underwater for an extended period, absorbing a significant amount of the oxygen it needs from the water itself.
Truly an amazing aquatic survivor — no ifs, ands, or buts about it!
EDITOR’S NOTE: For October, we at Wild View are getting in the spirit of Halloween. We’re celebrating nature that often elicits alarm. The animals that creep and crawl. The full moons that brighten night skies. The bats, the vultures, the snakes. Swallow your anxiety and join us. Fear not, it’s actually quite amazing.