Researchers with the Instituto de Diversidad y Ecología Animal and Centro de Zoología Aplicada studied the reptile's tail
Poor little guy. How did it injure its tail to grow extra tails? In what may be the first case of hexafurcation in a black and white tegu and maybe in any lizard species, but it apparently occurred to a young Salvator merianae in Argentina. The reptile was brought to Nicolás Pelegrin of the National University of Córdoba in Argentina by División de Patrulla Ambiental of Córdoba Police due to its injuries.
The lizard had injured its tail, but not enough to lose it but apparently enough for it to stimulate the lizard to start regenerating a tail. The injuries were on the top of the tail as if something scraped off the skin or took a bite at the top. The researchers who studied the lizard said the injuries were akin to someone taking a sharp object and shearing off the top portion of the entire tail.
“I was very surprised when I saw it,” Pelegrin told the New Scientist. “This was the first time I saw a lizard with more than three tails.” The reptile may have had issues with movement due to the extra tails, or perhaps social signaling and even reproduction, Pelegrin said. Other issues that might affect a lizard with multiple tails may include the metabolic costs of multiple tails or how fat reserves are distributed in the extra tails. It is not known what will happen to the tegu but it probably in all likelihood have the extra tails surgically removed so it can lead a more normal life.