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Basilisk lizard runs on water to catch a butterfly, Rate My Science

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Published on Jun 4, 2012

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Basiliscus is a genus of large corytophanid lizards, commonly known as basilisks, which are endemic to southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. They are known for their ability to run across water for significant distances before sinking. The basilisk sometimes runs as a biped. Basilisks have the unique ability to "walk" on water and, because of this, they have been dubbed as "The Jesus Christ lizard" in reference to the biblical passage of Matthew 14:22-34. On water, the basilisk can run at a velocity of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) per second for approximately 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) before sinking on all fours and swimming. Flaps between their toes help support the basilisk, creating a larger surface and a pocket of air. They can also sustain themselves on all fours while "water-walking" to increase time above the surface by about 1.3 meters (4.3 feet).

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