Friday, 20 February 2015

Weapontail

Image: Laurie Vitt
Hoplocercus spinosus
Also known as the Brazilian Spiny-tailed Lizard but that's way less fun!

Weapontails are fairly ordinary lizards from head to toe... but then there's that weapons-grade tail! Short, stubby and abominably spiky. Even their scientific name gets in on the act - Hoplocercus comes from the Greek for "armour" and "tail" while spinosus means "thorny". You got that right!

Weapontails live in dry habitats in parts of Brazil and Bolivia where they feast on insects and retire to underground burrows. When threatened, they run head first into those burrows and use their battle-butt to dissuade predators from poking their heads in.

It'd work on me!


6 comments:

Crunchy said...

"Weapon"tail is so generic. It's like the two people who discovered it couldn't agree whether the tail looked more like a club or a mace and settled on an unsatisfactory compromise. But still whenever they write about the thing they'll slip in their own preferred version in the hopes nobody notices.

TexWisGirl said...

he's carrying his own club with the spikes on it!

Jacob Littlejohn said...

I wonder if they can drop their tail off like other lizards?

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

@Crunchy: Haha! Maybe there's still a Clubtail school and a Macetail school who have separate journals and solicit donations from supporters?

@TexWisGirl: And he can never lose it, either!

@Jacob Littlejohn: Not to my knowledge. It's such a thick, unappetising thing I doubt it would work that well. It's so short it couldn't wriggle around much either, so it wouldn't be all that distracting.

Also it's their main weapon. Far more useful to keep it on!

Porakiya Draekojin said...

"battle butt" had me and my brother cracking up

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

Hahah! It has a ring to it!

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