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Posts Tagged "lizards"

Extinction Countdown

Unusual Night Lizard Returns after Eradication of Invasive Species

Island Night Lizard

A rare reptile found only on a few islands off the California coast has become the latest species to recover and leave the protection of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported this week. The island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) originally faced threats from nonnative species such as goats, pigs and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tourists Are Giving Endangered Iguanas Diarrhea and High Cholesterol

iguana grape

Hop on over to the photo-sharing site Flickr and you’ll find dozens of photos and videos of people eagerly feeding grapes to hungry iguanas on the beaches of the Bahamas. It looks like great fun and the iguanas obviously go crazy for the fruit, which is usually fed to the lizards on the ends of [...]

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Image of the Week

Monitoring the Many Faces of Monitors

DarrenNaishVaranidFEATURE

Artist: Darren Naish Source: Monitor musings, varanid variables, goannasaurian goings-on… it’s about monitor lizards, by Darren Naish on Tetrapod Zoology If you’re not a herpetologist, you may be of the mindset that lizards all look the same, but that would only expose you for what you are: a human primate, finely attuned to the faces [...]

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Observations

First Prehistoric Snake Slithered Out on Land–Not at Sea

snake lizard fossil jaw evolve land

Sorry, sea serpents. Snakes, it seems, slithered off their lizard legs on land. A new analysis of a primitive snake fossil suggests that these animals emerged from a line of burrowing reptiles. Snakes are in the same reptilian order that includes lizards, but just how and where they split off to live their legless lives [...]

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Observations

New Fossil Severs Snakes from Legless Lizard Line

ancestor limbless lizard not snake fossil

Snakes aren’t just lizards without any legs. But a curious group of long, legless lizards look suspiciously like snakes themselves. Also known as "worm lizards" (aka amphisbaenians), these small serpentine reptiles have evolved a limb-free body plan and strong heads that are handy for their burrowing lifestyle. So are they the snake’s closest lizard relatives? [...]

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Running Ponies

So Skinny, So Bright: How Colour Change Predicts the Odds of a Chameleon Battle

chameleon-face-off-featured

When it comes to male-on-male chameleon battles, sometimes it’s not all about who’s the biggest or the strongest. Sometimes it’s about mastering what chameleons do best – changing colours. With some males reaching more than 60 cm long, the veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) from the southwestern coastal regions of the Arabian Peninsula is one of [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Monitor musings, varanid variables, goannasaurian goings-on… it’s about monitor lizards

Current version of the monitor montage. Image by Darren Naish.

There’s been a bit of a monitor lizard thing going on here for the past few months: articles have covered Australian goannas, the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, Dumeril’s monitor and Timor and Peachthroat monitors, and the ‘prasinoid’ tree monitors. In ‘spare’ time, I’ve been working on the montage you see here, designed to depict a [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Hell yes: Komodo dragons!!! (again)

Komodo dragon feeding scrum. Not sure what's in the middle, but I somehow doubt that it's alive.

What with all the monitor-themed goodness around these parts lately (see links below), it seems only fitting that I provide a re-vamped, substantially updated version of this Tet Zoo ver 2 classic (originally published in September 2007). Here we go… Without doubt, one of the coolest living animals on the planet is the Komodo dragon Varanus [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

“Lean, green and rarely seen”: enthralling prasinoid tree monitors

A tree monitor montage, images by Darren Naish.

I said in the previous Tet Zoo article on monitor lizards that I really wanted to cover the prasinoids; that is, the arboreal tree monitors of New Guinea, Cape York Peninsula and various of the islands surrounding these areas. So, let’s get to it. Tree monitors or prasinoids, also termed the Varanus prasinus species group, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Obscure and attractive monitor lizards to know and love

Varanid portraits.

Everybody loves monitor lizards, or varanids. And there is so much to learn about, and to appreciate, in these remarkable, charismatic, complex, sophisticated lizards that scientists across many disciplines are being encouraged to study them and – lo – to make remarkable discoveries. In recent months we’ve seen the discovery of a mammal-like rate of [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Australia, land of dragons (part II)

Dwarf bearded dragon (Pogona minor), a semi-arboreal Pogona that lacks many of the spines present in other Pogona species. Image (c) Stephen Zozaya, used with permission.

Time for more Australian agamids, or amphibolurines, or dragons, whichever you prefer. Last time round, we looked at the water dragons, Moloch and a few other taxa, meaning that ‘all’ that’s left to get through is… the remainder. And there are quite a few of them: bearded dragons, earless dragons, bicycle dragons (yes, really) and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Australia, land of dragons (by which I mean: agamids) (part I)

Frilled dragon of the especially dark sort seen in Cape York Peninsula: I love the fact that you can see the large caniniform teeth in this shot. Image (c) Stephen Zozaya, used with permission.

Agamids are a widespread, diverse iguanian lizard group that I have a special fondness for and consequently have featured several times on Tet Zoo (see links below). Of course, I’ve never featured them enough, nor discussed or even mentioned whole groups of species that really should get adequate coverage here. In a recent article I [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Grassland earless dragons

Captive Grassland earless dragon climbing in tussock; image by Tony Gamble, used with permission.

Today: LIZARDS. Even better: obscure Australian agamids, or dragon lizards, or dragons, if you prefer. I’ve written about agamids a few times on Tet Zoo but have never gotten to say much (if anything) about the Australian radiation, grouped together into the clade Amphibolurinae. In this article, I won’t – I’m very sorry to say [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Leiosaurus: big heads, bold patterns

Leiosaurus belli: a short tail, broad, well-muscled head and distinctive 'shark tooth' dorsal patter. Photo by Oliver Rauhut, used with permission.

I like iguanian lizards – who doesn’t? Among the enormous number of taxa that you hardly ever hear anything about is the endemic Argentinean taxon Leiosaurus, type species of Leiosauridae. I did a quick check online and was surprised to find that there’s hardly any information out there on these neat little South American lizards, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Tale of the Takydromus

Female T. sexlineatus; image by Acapella, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

I said a while back that I intended to make some overdue headway into the diversity of lacertid lizards: Lacertidae being the clade that includes many of the more familiar, conventionally ‘lizard-shaped’ lizards of Europe, Asia and Africa. Beleaguered by commitments and absolutely unable to produce anything lengthy for Tet Zoo (and unwilling to repost [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

It’s high time you were told about Psammodromus

>Massively< simplified lacertid phylogeny, showing early divergence into Gallotiinae and Lacertinae. Acanthodactylus by Richard Hing, Gallotia by Petermann, Psammodromus by Wolfgang Wüster.

Once again, I have squamate guilt. For a while now I’ve been planning to discuss the lacertid lizard fauna of Europe (or, the European Field Guide Region, or Western Palaearctic, or whatever). European people tend to think of our lacertids as small, boring brown things (bar the few big green species). That might be true [...]

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