The Blue Lacerta

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Anatomy

Organs 

The blue lacerta has a number of different organs essential for survival. These include: digestive, sensory, circulatory, and respiratory. 


Tongue~

The blue lacerta has a long, slim tongue. It is light pink in colouration, and is one of the blue lacerta's many sensory organs. It is a very effective method for sensing out prey, with just the flick of a tongue. Parting it's jaw slightly, the blue lacerta is able to flick his tongue out quickly at ease, tongue sliding between it's four front fangs, (two fangs on both jaws) and sensing chemical messages such as pheromones to help detect prey. 


Eyes~ 

The blue lacerta has two large eyes, being able to see colour and clear images. The eye has a golden iris, and a black slitted pupil. Blue lacertas also have a thin layer of guanine crystals behind their retina, which seems to intensify images in low/dark light, and a third eyelid. The third eyelid is designed to protect the eye from the water, sliding over the eye automatically as the blue lacerta enters the water. This is extremely useful, as salts and chemicals can damage the eye, leading to blindness. 



Respiration~

The blue lacerta has two lungs, meaning they cannot breathe underwater. The blue lacerta inhales oxygen through its' two nostrils and mouth, before exhaling carbon dioxide, like most other animals. After inhaling, the oxygen then passes through the larynx, trachea, bronchus, bronchial tubes, into the lungs, into the millions of alveoli, before diffusing through capillaries, and into the arterial blood. The carbon dioxide then travels up the same way as the oxygen went down, when a blue lacerta exhales. To travel underwater for long periods of time, the blue lacerta is able to take a single breath every three hours, by gradually slowing its' heart rate. This method is effective for deep diving, remaining dormant for periods of time (waiting to ambush prey), and sometimes for sleeping. A blue lacerta cannot swim fast for three hours with a slow heart rate and not being able to take a breath, instead they are able to leap out of the water, being able a take a breath every 5 -10 minutes. 



Circulation~ 

A blue lacerta has a three chambered heart, within, it consists two aortas, two atria and a partitioned ventricle (very similar to that of a lizard). The blue lacerta heart combines oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, and the heart size depends on the age, health, and size of an individual. The heart pumps consistently, ever since it was formed within the egg. When a blue lacerta becomes excited, nervous, or has been active, the heart rate will fasten. Because a blue lacerta can hold it's breath for about three hours underwater, the heart rate will slow, pumping oxygen gradually throughout it's bloodstream and into its' organs. When a blue lacerta's bodily temperature is low, the heart rate will lower too. When a blue lacerta has been basking, the body temperature will begin to rise, hence the fastening pace of the heart. 



Teeth~ 

The blue lacerta has an array of small, sharp, teeth. They have two large, sharp teeth at the front of their upper jaw - and another two, slightly smaller teeth on the bottom jaw at the front. They are gapped apart, allowing for their thin tongue to pass through easily without opening their jaws too wide, tasting the air for prey. The rest of the teeth are slightly smaller than the fangs at the front, but are still incredibly sharp. They are in slightly different sizes from each other as they sit almost completely upright. These teeth are not for chewing, but instead for piercing and ripping apart. The front 'fangs' are used for piercing, grabbing, and ripping meat, whereas the others are used for holding the meat in place whilst the blue lacerta swallows his meal whole.  


Digestion~ 

After the process of hunting, catching, and killing a meal, a blue lacerta will then consume it. Holding the flesh in it's mouth with it's small, piercing teeth, the blue lacerta will then begin to swallow it whole. After salivating, the blue lacerta will then tilt its' head slightly upwards as it begins to swallow. It's oesophagus will then pump the food down, leading towards the stomach. Because blue lacertas swallow their food whole, and cannot chew up their meal properly, an aid is needed to break down their food apart from their acidic stomach juices. Blue lacertas will swallow numerous amounts of small rocks beforehand, which will help aid in grinding down their food during digestion. These are called gastroliths. After being ground up, the food will then pass through both intestines, before the undigested matter will pass through the cloaca, digestion then complete. The fecal matter of a blue lacerta is solid and has a brown and white colouration, similar to that of a lizard. 

The time it takes to digest one's meal depends on a number of factors; body heat, age, and size of meal. A blue lacerta may take many hours to digest a small meal if they are simply not warm enough to produce enough energy to digest quickly. 


Skeletal

The blue lacerta has a skeleton similar to a lizard. It has a spine, rib cage, tail bone, pelvic bone.. and the list goes on. The diagram below displays the skeletal structure of the blue lacerta.