October 25

Anniella pulchra, California Legless Lizard. ©2011 Chris Brown, USGS. (CC-by-NC 3.0) Photo Credit: ©2011 Chris Brown, USGS. (CC-by-NC 3.0)

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Non-Leapin' Lizards: The Legless Relatives

In 2013, scientists identified four new species of legless lizards living in California.

But aren't legless lizards just snakes?

No. Legless lizards have one or more of the following features that snakes lack: eyelids, ear openings, and detachable tails. They also don't shed their skin in a single piece the way snakes do.

Those four new species were:

  • Southern California legless lizard (Anniella stebbinsi)
  • Bakersfield legless lizard (Anniella grinnellii)
  • Southern Sierra legless lizard (Anniella campi)
  • Temblor legless lizard (Anniella alexanderae)

They join the previously identified (Northern) California legless lizard (Anniella pulchra), pictured above, and the Baja California legless lizard (Anniella geronimensis) in the Anniellidae family of lizards.

Learn more about reptiles with these Science NetLinks resources:

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