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Knob-Scaled Lizards: Xenosauridae

Knob-scaled Lizard (xenosaurus Grandis): Species Account

Physical characteristics: With a flat head and body and tall, bumpy scales, the knob-scaled lizard looks much like the other lizards in this family. This species, however, has bright red eyes and usually a dark-brown body, often with tan to cream bands or blotches. It grows to about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail. The tail is a bit shorter than the rest of the body. Males and females are about the same size.

Geographic range: The knob-scaled lizard lives in both Central America and Mexico, stretching from Guatemala in the south to Veracruz, Mexico, on the Gulf of Mexico in the north.

Habitat: This species lives in wooded areas containing numerous cracks and crevices in rocks and bark where they can remain out of sight.

The knob-tailed lizard has bright red eyes and a usually dark-brown body, often with tan to cream bands or blotches. (Illustration by Brian Cressman. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Like other species in this family, the knob-scaled lizard mainly eats insects, which it captures by ambush.

Behavior and reproduction: These lizards typically live alone in their crevices, which they defend against other members of their species. Male-to-male fights sometimes break out, with the males biting at one another's head. Females give birth to one to six baby lizards at a time.

Knob-scaled lizards and people: Knob-scaled lizards and people rarely see or bother one another.

Conservation status: Although much about this species is unknown, it is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎



Halliday, Tim, and Kraig Adler, eds. The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1986.

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1989.

Web sites:

"Chinese Crocodile Lizard." Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition, Indiana University. http://www.cogsci.indiana.edu/farg/harry/bio/zoo/shinisau.htm (accessed on December 8, 2004).

"Xenosauridae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Xenosauridae.html (accessed on November 16, 2004).

"Xenosauridae." Virtual Museum of Natural History. http://www.curator.org/LegacyVMNH/WebOfLife/Kingdom/P_Chordata/ClassReptilia/O_Squamata/InfraAnguimorphan/SupFDiploglossa/FXenosauridae/xenosauridae.htm (accessed on December 8, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesKnob-Scaled Lizards: Xenosauridae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Knob-scaled Lizards And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, CONSERVATION STATUS