Eastern Glass Lizard

On my way into Armstrong Atlantic this morning, I found this legless, Eastern Glass Lizard: Ophisaurus ventralis.  It was positioned in the posture in the photographs when I encountered in on the side of the road, so, when I dismounted my bike and approached it, I hesitated to grab it to avoid being bitten… Then, when I did grab it, I realized it was stiff and dead.

Glass lizards resemble snakes, in that they don’t have legs, but have external ear openings (the hole on the head, behind the eye) and movable eyelids.  Relative to snakes, they’ve evolved from a distinct lineage of lizards and belong to the family Anguidae. Anguids look a bit like skinks, especially those  Anguids with legs, and I’ve encountered one in Costa Rica – a beast of a lizard called a galliwasp.  Glass lizards are reportedly pretty common around here, and I’ve seen one other on Skidaway Island, but it was too fast to catch.  A friend also captured some on video mating… (edit: before seeing the video, I thought the subjects were anguids – looks more like broad-headed skink though)