Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Name That Animal (Answer)

This is a legless lizard. Specifically, an Eastern glass lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis). You guys did a great job guessing! For those that are curious, I have absolutely no idea how it died.

When I spotted it from about fifteen feet away, I thought it might be a snake, but on closer examination (especially after I realized it was dead), I realized it wasn't. The head was all wrong! It didn't have a distinct neck like the local venomous species (except the coral snake, but it's hard to misidentify them), and the head was pointed, whereas the local non-venomous species has very blunt faces. Then, I looked even closer, checking for ear openings. Snakes so not have external ear openings, but this animal did. Thus, legless lizard. I did have to do a little searching to find the exact species, since there are four legless lizard species found in my area.

This particular species is found throughout much of the Southern United States, extending from Mississippi to North Carolina. It prefers sandy areas, so its presence where I am isn't that surprising. Though this specimen is fairly small, the species can grow up to forty-three inches, or over a meter in length.

As with many lizards, glass lizards can loose and regrow their tails. The fact that they will easily drop their tails, as if they were fragile, is why the group is known as "glass lizards." If you look closely at the first image, you can see a line on the tail. This is likely the growth point after it dropped its tail.

1 comment:

  1. I am feeling fear with such kind of animal. If I want to assign a name to such animal then I will choose a "frago".

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