Monday, 15 October 2012

Chinese turtle passes waste urea through its mouth


Chinese soft-shelled turtles pass waste through their mouths, scientists in Singapore have found.
Biologists were puzzled by the turtle's behaviour because, despite using its lungs to breathe air, it often submerges its head in water.
By testing the water, they found that the reptile was excreting urea through its mouth instead of its kidneys.
The discovery adds to previous research, which suggested the turtles have highly specialised mouth tissues.
Professor Ip Yeung Kwon and colleagues from the National University of Singapore published their study in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
The species, Pelodiscus sinensis, is found in swampy, brackish water and is native to much of East Asia.
Their unusual mouths were first discussed over a century ago when researchers suggested that the velvety tissues inside function in a similar way to gills in fish.

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