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New research explores why so few reptiles have invaded marine environments

Although the first reptiles were apparently adapted to live on land, multiple lineages of reptiles have reinvaded freshwater and marine environments throughout history. Today, the adaptive success of reptiles in terrestrial environments has led to fewer than 8% of the 6000 species being primarily aquatic. Therefore, the marine iguana has arguably undergone one of the most significant evolutionary transitions among extant reptiles, being the world’s only marine lizard. However, new findings suggest that this likely incurred a reduced sprint speed and greater predation risk in a terrestrial environment, which may explain why so few extant reptiles are primarily aquatic. Marine iguanas must overcome numerous challenges associated with feeding exclusively on subtidal marine products, however, they exhibit little departure … Continued Read more