Chapter

From Girdled Lizards to Knob-Scaled 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520234017.003.0012
From Girdled Lizards to Knob-Scaled Lizards

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This chapter discusses girdled lizards (Cordylidae), African plated lizards (Gerrhosauridae), alligator lizards (Anguidae), and knob-scaled lizards (Xenosauridae). Cordylids, gerrhosaurids, and anguids are heavily armored due to their large scales and osteoderms. Cordylids or girdled lizards have body and tail scales arranged in regular rings or whorls. Four genera—Cordylus, Pseudocordylus, Chamaesaura, and Platysaurus—and about 40 species are recognized. Gerrhosauridae, or African plated lizards are slender, long-tailed lizards, and are all diurnal and terrestrial, and all lay eggs. Anguids have bodies covered with large, nearly nonoverlapping scales. Xenosaurids, or knob-scaled lizards, include only two genera: Xenosaurus and the monotypic Shinisaurus. Although they appear quite different superficially, with Xenosaurus being dorsoventrally flattened and Shinisaurus compressed laterally, they share many important derived characteristics that tie them together as sister taxa.

Keywords: girdled lizards; Cordylidae; African plated lizards; Gerrhosauridae; alligator lizards; Anguidae; knob-scaled lizards; Xenosauridae; Xenosaurus; Shinisaurus

Chapter.  4229 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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