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Microteiids: Gymnophthalmidae

Physical Characteristics

The microteiids are very small lizards, with adults usually only growing to 2.3 inches (6 centimeters) long from the tip of the snout to the vent, which is a slitlike opening between the two hind legs on the underside of the lizard. Their tails come in different lengths depending on the species, but they are typically about one and one-half times the length of the body from snout to vent or longer. All species in this family can easily break off the tail and grow a new one. Most, but not all, have four working legs. The eighteen species in the group, or genus (GEE-nus), called Bachia have tiny legs, and those in the genus Calyptommatus have no legs at all. A genus is a group of similar species. Although the microteiids spend much of their time hidden in dark places, they have well-formed eyes.

Many species in this family have small scales on their backs and larger scales on their undersides. Some species have ridges, or keels, on their back scales, and some have smooth unkeeled scales. Many have backs in shades of brown or black, and some have stripes or spots. In a few species, such as the golden spectacled lizard of Costa Rica, the tail may be a different color than the rest of the lizard.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesMicroteiids: Gymnophthalmidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, No Common Name (bachia Bresslaui): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MICROTEIIDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS