Lizards

Lizards

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: lizards
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: No data
GENUS SPECIES: Approximately 3,000 species

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Long reptile; most have legs (though there are legless lizards); tail length and shape varies
SIZE: Ranges from the 40 mm (1.6 in.) Brookesia minima to the 3 m (9.9 ft.) long Komodo dragon
WEIGHT: Varies between species
DIET: Most species are predatory; few are completely herbivirous
INCUBATION: Varies; usually relies on environmental conditions
SEXUAL MATURITY: Varies; generally 2 years
LIFE SPAN: Varies
RANGE: Worldwide, except for Antarctic
HABITAT: Ranges from temperate and tropical regions, some can withstand colder climates
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES No data
USFWS Some species listed as endangered

FUN FACTS

1. Their legs are not positioned like a mammals, they stick out on each side and push the body along, undulating or wriggling. Of course the legless lizards move entirely by undulating movements, just as a snake does.
2. Some lizards have a tail with weakened vertebrae so it can break free and escape if caught by the tail. The tail can regenerate, though usually not to the same length and look of the original tail.
3. Geckoes are small lizards with flattened bodies and pads on their toes, enabling them to run on vertical and even overhanging surfaces.
4. The flying lizards of Southeast Asia have extended ribs that support a membrane of skin. By spreading the membranous skin out, the lizard is able to glide from one tree to another.
5. Chameleons are known for their ability to change color. Communication is an important reason behind these color changes. Chameleons cannot display limitless colors and do not change colors in a camouflage response to their surroundings. Instead, their skin changes in response to temperature, light, and mood.
6. Chameleons are known for their ability to change color. Communication is an important reason behind these color changes. Chameleons cannot display limitless colors and do not change colors in a camouflage response to their surroundings. Instead, their skin changes in response to temperature, light, and mood.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Lizards, like many other reptiles are essential in controlling rodent and insect populations. Most species suffer from habitat loss, but some fall victim to human fears. Although not all are listed as endangered or threatened, populations are under pressure from both habitat destruction and their popularity in the pet trade.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Coborn, John. Snakes and Lizards: Their Care and Breeding in Captivity. Great Britain: Ralph Curtis Books Publishing, 1987.

Flank, Lenny Jr. Herp Help. New York: Howell Book House, 1998.

Halliday, Tim R., and Adler, Kraig. The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Equinox Books, 1986.