Australiana #3 – Thorny devil

By Ed Yong | November 13, 2008 4:41 pm

So we’ve done koalas and cephalopods – let me actually show you something I saw in the wild. This delightful little creature is the thorny devil or moloch, names which sit uneasily with its placid nature. The spines that decorate its body are impressive and provide the lizard with a strong defence, but it’s what lies between the spines that’s really interesting. The thorny devil’s flanks are lined with grooves that are narrow enough to channel water by capillary action. The grooves end in the creature’s mouth, so the thorny devil can drink simply by standing in a puddle or waiting for the morning dew to condense on its numerous spines.



Comments (4)

  1. I’m surprised I haven’t seen one of those in south Florida … yet. Australia has given us many of our invasive exotics, but we returned the favor with our swamp apple.

  2. Matt

    That water thing is pretty interesting. Another way evolution has helped the parched animals of Australia?
    P.S. You’re missing an “r” in the title, right now it reads “thony” instead of thorny.

  3. Brian Becker

    I was wondering how could i buy or where could i buy a Australian thorny devil?

  4. Oooohhhh, I want to hold a thorny devil! It looks so calm! I’ve watched videos of a walking devil. Bugger looks like it’s under a strobe light.


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