Saturday, December 25, 2010

Adult Jesus Christ Lizard

For Christmas Day, here is an adult Jesus Christ Lizard. The are so named because the young lizards are so light and so fast that they can actually run across the surface of the the water. I once saw a Jesus Christ lizard walk on the water on Christmas Day, but it moved too fast to photograph.

When they run across the water they do so upright on their hind legs, which adds to comparison of Christ walking on water. How do the do so? They move their legs so fast that the resistance of their feet hitting the surface of the water pushes them up and forward and their next step pumps up so quickly that they generate greater upward force on the surface of the water than the force of gravity downward.

This lizard was lounging in a tree. Adults get up to 1 meter (3.3 ft.) long, including the tail.

The official name for this species, is basilik, and in Spanish they have two common names -- lagartija Jesucristo and chisbala, which means flying bullet. Jesus Christ lizard and flying bullet seem to be somewhat incompatible nicknames for the same thing.

I think this is a male Jesus Christ lizard because the characteristic long, continuous crest running down the head, back and tail is very prominent in this lizard, whereas female and young of the species have smaller crests.

This week we are showing photos of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.


Sharon Creech said...

Amazing. . .and weird!
Happy holidays--

Sharon said...

I got to see one run across the water when I was there. It was quite a site to see.
Have a wonderful Christmas Day!

TheChieftess said...

Wow! Interesting!!! Merry Christmas to you and the lizard!!!

Unknown said...

I don't think I have ever seen one of these guys on a tree... Love to watch them running on water! :-)
Wish you a Happy New Year, David.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...