|hundreds of species in 42 genera|
Gymnophthalmidae is a family of lizards, sometimes known as spectacled lizards or microteiids. They are called 'spectacled' because of their transparent lower eyelids, so they can still see with closed eyes. Like most lizards, but unlike geckos, these eyelids are movable.
Description and ecology
Spectacled lizards are related to the Teiidae, but they look like skinks (slightly more distant relatives) with smooth scales. They are generally small lizards; many species have reduced limbs. Unusually among lizards, however, it is generally the hind limbs that are reduced or absent, rather than the forelimbs.
Gymnophthalmids live in a wide variety of habitats, from desert to mountain to rain forest, throughout Central America and South America. They are usually inhabitants of the forest floor or wet areas associated with tropical forests, either nocturnal or intermittently active throughout the day. Spectacled lizards eat mostly insects and other invertebrates, and all species lay eggs. Often they can be found under logs, rocks, or other debris or foraging for small invertebrate prey. Some species are able to dive in order to escape.
- Bauer (1998)
- Bauer, Aaron M. (1998): [Gymnophthalmidae]. In: Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G. (eds.): Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians: 171. Academic Press, San Diego. ISBN 0-12-178560-2
- Media related to Gymnophthalmidae at Wikimedia Commons
- Mikko's Phylogeny Archive Gymnophthalmidae