Spanish ribbed newt new research

This video says about itself:

Spanish Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl) Largest newt species.They can reach in excess of 35cm and weigh 300+ grams

From Wildlife Extra:

Bizarre newt sticks ribs out of body for protection

24/08/2009 22:34:43

Newt forces rib points out of body to act like spines

Courtesy of Egon Heiss of the University of Vienna

August 2009. The Spanish ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl displays a bizarre defensive mechanism against predators.

X-ray analysis before and after a simulated threat shows that this newt can rotate its ribs until they project from the animal’s body. This forward movement causes the sharply pointed rib tips to lacerate the body wall and project freely from the sides of the trunk as spines.

Microscopy shows the micro-anatomy, and computed tomography shows the 3D morphology of these unusual weapons. They are ‘spear-shaped’ and are connected to the corresponding vertebra by a well-developed, two-headed joint. The skin in the penetration areas lacks permanent pores through which the ribs could be projected and is pierced by every anti-predator posturing. This investigation provides new insight into the functionality of a highly complex, integrated and unusual defensive strategy.

Poisonous secretions

Remarkably, the same newts have another defence mechanism. They have several special glands that are especially concentrated in body parts that are presented to an attacking predator and produce repellent poisonous substances to thwart potential aggressors.

Click here to see the full paper on the ribs.

Click here to see the full paper on the poison glands.

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