From Racerunners to Night Lizards

Eric R. Pianka and Laurie J. Vitt

in Lizards

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780520234017
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939912 | DOI:
From Racerunners to Night Lizards

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This chapter introduces the highly active teiids and lacertids, the diminutive gymnophthalmids, and the secretive, long-lived xantusiids. Teiids, gymnophthalmids, and lacertids (all of which form the clade Lacertiformes) are tied together evolutionarily because they share a common ancestor. Lacertiforms share a number of identifying features: they have elongate, streamlined bodies compared with many iguanians; they are alert and often fast moving, they forage actively, primarily on the surface of the ground, discriminating between prey and non-prey using chemical cues; and many, but not all, are active at high body temperatures. Xantusiids, or night lizards, differ considerably from teiids, gymnophthalmids, and lacertids. Xantusiid eyes are capped over like those of most geckos; they have elliptical pupils and are active in dark places. Their body temperatures while active are considerably lower than those of Lacertiformes.

Keywords: teiids; gymnophthalmids; lacertids; Lacertiformes; body temperature; xantusiids; night lizards

Chapter.  9209 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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