Tongue Strike

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When attacked, bluetongued skinks (lizards) open their mouth suddenly and as wide as possible to reveal their conspicuously coloured tongues. This surprise action serves as their last line of defence to save themselves from becoming prey, says Martin Whiting, of Macquarie University in Australia, who conceived the study recently published in Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The research revealed that the back of the northern bluetongue skink’s tongue is much more UV-intense and luminous than the front, and that this section is only revealed in the final stages of an imminent attack.