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Re:OT: Skinks and Snakes

  • Subject: Re:OT: Skinks and Snakes
  • From: Bill Shear <wshear@hams-hsc.hsc.edu>
  • Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 14:27:44 -0400

There are legless lizards and these are fairly common in the SE US--I recall
seeing them quite a bit in Florida when I lived there.

The difference between a snake and legless lizard is that snakes have short
tails, and lizards have long ones.  A snake's tail rarely makes up more than
a fourth of its body length--usually less.  For a legless lizard, as much or
more than half the length can be tail.  Also, lizards have ear holes and
snakes do not.

The legless lizards are closely related to skinks and look like skinks with
the legs off.  They are also commonly called Glass Lizards, because they
very readily drop their long tails when captured.  The tail grows back,
although this takes some time.

The "snake" body form has appeared again and again in the course of
evolution--vertebrate worms, I guess you could call them.  An ideal
adaptation for life in the soil at first, it also turns out to work well for
climbing, swimming, etc.  So snakes are very successful.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (434)223-6374
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