Scientists discover new legless lizard species in California

Sep 20, 2013
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Scientists discover new legless lizard species in California

I've always found it very amazing that despite the number of people on Earth, we still discover new species of animals hidden deep in the jungles and other locations around the world. It's even more amazing to me that we can discover a new species of animal right the middle of one of the most highly populated areas in the United States. A group of scientists have discovered a new species of legless lizard that lives in California.

One of those legless lizard species lives under the sand dunes near LAX airport. It's confusing to think about a legless lizard, because the animal looks like a snake. However, scientists are very specific that not all legless lizards are snakes. California is home to five different legless lizard species, with four them species being new to science.

All five of the legless lizard species belong to the same group called Anniella. If you're wondering what the difference is between a legless lizard and a snake, the scientists offer some insight. One of the most important is that Anniella legless lizards can blink, snakes can't blink because they don't have eyelids.

Legless lizards also don't shed their skin in one piece due to the fact that they are more rigid than a snake. The snakes flexibility is one of the reasons it's able to shed its skin in one piece. Legless lizards also small and are about as thick as a pencil and rarely over 8 inches long. They live in loose and sandy soil and eat bugs and bug larvae. The scientists say that the animals don't move fast or very far and typically spend their entire lives in an area about the size of your dining room table. The scientists also say that these legless lizards are one of the most poorly studied reptiles in all of California.

SOURCE: LA Times


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