Mexican mole lizard
|Mexican mole lizard|
The Mexican mole lizard (Bipes biporus), commonly known as the five-toed worm lizard, ajolote, or simply as Bipes, is a species of amphisbaenian, which is endemic to Baja California, Mexico. It is one of four species of amphisbaenians that have legs. Also it is one of only two non-extinct genera of reptiles to have only front limbs, with Jarujinia bipedalis. It should not be confused with the axolotl, a salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum), which is usually called ajolote in Spanish.
They are pink, lizard-like reptiles, 18–24 cm (7.1–9.4 in) snout-to-vent length and 6–7 mm (0.24–0.28 in) in width, that live for one to two years. Their skin is closely segmented to give a corrugated appearance, and like earthworms, their underground movement is by peristalsis of the segments. The forelegs are strong and paddle-like, while the hindlegs have disappeared, leaving behind only vestigial bones visible in X-rays.
Like all other amphisbaenians, this burrowing species only surfaces at night or after heavy rain.
It is an opportunist carnivore and eats ants, termites, ground-dwelling insects, larvae, earthworms, and small animals including lizards. It usually pulls its prey down to the ground to start its meal.
- Cope, E.D. 1894. On the Genera and Species of Euchirotidæ. American Naturalist 28: 436-437. (Euchirotes biporus)
- Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin. Boston and New York. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 0-395-98272-3 (paperback). (Bipes biporus, pp. 428-429 + Plate 55 + Map 200.)
- Bipes biporus at the Reptile Database
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