Weird Wonderful World – lizards with toxic green blood

Make no bones about it

It’s not easy being green

you must have grit, a bit of wit

and know it’s just your gene

But 

if you are a Prasinohaema lizard

it’s quite natural, very easy 

to have green blood and gizzard 

and never, ever feel sleazy

“In the forests of New Guinea, lizards scurry around with green bones, green hearts, green tongues, and green blood. At least six species share this enigmatic trait, which didn’t originate from one bizarre mutation but evolved four different times, according to new research in Science Advances.”

“These lizards have green insides because their bile carries super high levels of a deadly compound called biliverdin, the product of old red blood cells. People make the same pigment—you can see it when you get a gnarly, green-tinged bruise —but our livers filter it from our blood. Trace amounts of biliverdin cause jaundice, a disease common in infants and adults with liver failure.”

The levels found in these lizards would kill us. But for these lizards, it sure is easy being green

Prasinohaema virens green blooded lizard

“It’s possible there is no adaptive value,” says biologist Christopher Austin at Louisiana State University, “but it’s hard to imagine.” Over the course of 27 years, Austin, one of the authors of the study, has traveled to New Guinea in search of the bright green creatures. He’s captured hundreds of lizards by clamoring up trees and grabbing the critters. In his fieldwork, he discovered two new species, but he’s sure there are more. “New Guinea is like this black hole for biological discovery,” Austin says. “There’s no field guide.”

“Some species of fish and frogs also have green blood, but none come close to the levels of biliverdin found in Prasinohaema lizards

Austin’s effort to understand the lizards’ evolutionary history might explain why the heck toxic green blood would evolve in the New Guinea lizards more than once. One theory is that biliverdin could help fight off blood parasites, like malaria or blood-born worms, says Susan Perkins, a parasitologist at the American Museum of Natural History, another of the study’s authors.”

https://www.popsci.com/green-blood-lizards

Grass is not always green & DIY

THIS is green grass

’60’s grass not green
could put you out to pasture
and/or make you smile

a snake in the grass

discovers she’s all she needs

true do-it-yourself

by Ker Than for National Geographic News

“Virgin birth” among animals may not be a rare, last-resort, save-the-species stopgap after all.

For the first time, animal mothers, specifically pit vipers, have been discovered spawning fatherless offspring in the wild. More to the point, the snakes did so even when perfectly good males were around.

Among vertebrate animals that normally reproduce sexually, virgin birth, or “parthenogenesis,” had been observed in only captive female snakes, Komodo dragonsbirds, and sharks.

Until now its been considered an evolutionary novelty, albeit one that made a sort of sense—a way for a bloodline to continue in the absence of suitable father.”

“You’re Safe for Now, Men”

“A virgin birth occurs when a polar body—a cell produced along with the egg—essentially functions like a sperm and “fertilizes” the egg.

As a result, the DNA of a virgin-birth offspring, or “parthenogen,” doesn’t perfectly match that of its parent—the offspring is a sort of half clone.

So far, parthenogenesis has only been observed among sharks, reptiles, and birds (which are closely related to reptiles). Mammals aren’t thought to be capable of parthenogenesis, because their reproduction requires copies of genes from both parents.

“So no human parthenogenesis anytime soon,” said Stony Brook University marine biologist Demian Chapman, who discovered virgin birth among blacktip sharks.”

“We’ll leave that to the snakes, birds, and sharks.”

Read the whole article!  Click here. Fascinating!