Characteristics of Reptiles
• Most reptiles have a three-chambered heart, but crocodiles have a four-chambered heart. Reptiles can divert blood from the lungs to conserve energy and warm their bodies.
• Reptiles inflate their lungs by expanding the ribs, which lowers air pressure in the chest cavity and draws in air. When the ribs relax, air is forced out.
• A reptile's brain is about the same size as the brain of an amphibian but has a much larger cerebrum. A reptile's senses include sight, hearing, smell, and heat detection.
Vocabulary septum (p. 825) alveolus (p. 826) Jacobson's organ (p. 827)
thermoregulation (p. 828) ectotherm (p. 828) endotherm (p. 828)
• All living reptiles are ectotherms. Ectotherms warm their bodies mainly by absorbing heat from their surroundings.
• Many reptiles lay shelled eggs, which is called oviparity. Some species retain shelled eggs inside the female's body, which is ovoviviparity. Other species have eggs with placentas rather than shells, which develop within the female's body. This is viviparity.
• Of the reptiles, crocodiles and alligators provide the greatest amount of parental care.
oviparity (p. 829) ovoviviparity (p. 829) viviparity (p. 829)
placenta (p. 829)
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