Means “hard tongue” – front half of the tongue is flattened, and at least back half is keratinized.
Hard keratinous surface on back of tongue.
Includes four groups:
Most speciesrich group in all of lizards, hasn’t been split up like most other groups. Doesn’t mean
anything, just how people are dividing up groups
Occur in just about every habitat, distributed around the world
Most skinks pretty much look alike.
Kind of tubular, very shiny, circular scales, long tail. Most look like this.
In each scale, has some osteoderms. Litle bone pieces
They also have a secondary palate like crocodylians and humans.
But, can’t actually see skull features in xray because of bony osteoderms in scales
But a few are really odd: crocodile skink, sleepy lizard (or shingleback lizard, also called pine cone
lizard), blue tongued skink, Egernia, Solomon island prehensile tale skink.
Some have reduced limbs or lost them entirely many times over time
Some live in leaf litter, some in trees (arboreal), some burrow
Countersunk jaw in some – good for moving through sand.
Some herbivorous but most insectivores.
Some species are monogamous! Some also associate in family groups for a long time. A couple species that are nocturnal – only species other than geckos (and not counting snakes)
that are nocturnal.
Called often “whip tail”, active forager.
Supersize version is the “Tegu” – more than a meter in length, rival monitor lizards. They’ll eat
pretty much anything, lizards, eggs, etc.
From head down looks like crocodilian. Lives near water.
Big rounded teeth for crushing mollusks – snails, etc.
Sometimes called “microTeids”
Big difference between these and Teids is their size. They are very small. Mostly in South America,
but some in Central America and Caribbean islands
Live in all manner of habitats – deserts, rain forests, mountains, most in leaf litter.
Old World counterparts of Teeidae
Most in arid habitats and deserts. Some are arboreal like Gastropholis.
One cool one is Aporosaura anchietae – countersunk jaw. Lower jaw actually fits within upper jaw.
Use heads to dig way through sand.
Found almost exclusively in Southern Africa
Not much diversity even though very old High morphological variety!
Cordylus – bites tail for protection
Also found almost exclusively in Southern Africa – sister taxa to Cordylidae
Not much diversity even though very old
But, high morphological variety!
Platysaurus – flat lizard
Sometimes called night lizards, only about 5 species, most in American southwest and one in
Live in rotting logs and crevices.
Elongate tail, tongue often notched at end, rely on chemoreception, most have very good sense of
vision. Generally widely foraging predators like whiptail.
Split into three families, quite different but treated as one
Most widespread of anguimorphs. Found in N and Central America, much of Eurasia, and N Africa.
Great variety of habitats – tropical cloud forests to deserts, variable in habitat living up in trees or
on ground or even burrowing.
Southern Alligator Lizard
Glass lizard – entirely lost legs
Most obvious feature of anguids is a lateral fold of skin.
Two species: gila monster and Mexican beaded lizard. They are both venomous. Only confirmed venomous reptiles besides snakes (jury still out on
Foraging, rely on chemical scent to detect prey
Not fast moving, stalky and squat, pretty much eat things that cant get away, so bird eggs, nestling
birds, rabbit nests
Orange and black color – usually found on ground, terrestrial, but sometimes the beaded lizard will
Venom different from snake venom – venom glands are in the lower jaw (in snakes it’s in upper),
they are modified salivary glands that produce venom. Unlike many snakes, there is no muscle that
squeezes venom. Just have to bite and chew and venom is exuded. Teeth, instead of having
syringelike tooth, helodermas have grooves on tooth and venom flows along into prey. Fairly
inefficient mechanism, and in lower jaw, so no gravity help. Effects include drop in blood pressure,
hypothermia, tacky cardia [fast hartbeat], internal hemorrhaging, fluid into tissues, venom