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American five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Informal group: Scleroglossa
Clade: Autarchoglossa
Wagler, 1830

Autarchoglossa is a clade (evolutionary grouping) of squamates that includes skinks, anguimorphs, snakes, and relatives.[1] Autarchoglossa is supported as a monophyletic grouping (i.e. a valid clade) by morphological features in living and extinct lizards and snakes. Some phylogenetic analyses based on molecular features such as DNA sequences in living squamates do not support Autarchoglossa.

The recent proposal of the Toxicofera clade places Iguania within Autarchoglossa, which is not supported by morphological analyses. Placing Iguania within Autarchoglossa may lead to confusion as Autarchoglossa means "free-tongued", and iguanians do not have this feature. To circumvent this, it has been proposed that Autarchoglossa be renamed to Unidentata (single egg-tooth, a feature both groups share) and be redefined to include Iguania.[2]

The following are families classified within Autarchoglossa (excluding Iguania):[3]

  • Anguidae Gray, 1825 – Alligator Lizards, Anguid Lizards, Anguids, Galliwasps, Glass Lizards
  • Anniellidae Nopcsa 1928 – Legless Lizards, North American Legless Lizards
  • Cordylidae Mertens, 1937 – Girdle-tailed Lizards
  • Gerrhosauridae
  • Gymnophthalmidae Merrem, 1820
  • Helodermatidae Gray, 1837 – Beaded Lizards, Gila Monsters, Venomous Lizards
  • Lacertidae Gray, 1825 – Lacertid Lizards, Old World Runners
  • Lanthanotidae Steindachner, 1877 – Earless Monitor Lizard, Earless Monitors
  • Scincidae Gray, 1825 – Skinks
  • Teiidae Gray, 1827 – Ameivas, Ground Lizards, New World Runners, Racerunners, Whiptails
  • Varanidae Hardwicke & Gray, 1827 – Monitor Lizards, Monitors
  • Xantusiidae Baird, 1858 – Night Lizards
  • Xenosauridae Cope, 1866


  1. ^ Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2008. Suborder Autarchoglossa Archived May 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed March 28, 2011 at
  2. ^ Vidal, N. and Hedges, S.B. 2005. The phylogeny of squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians) inferred from nine nuclear protein-coding genes. C.R. Biologies 328:1000-1008. available online:
  3. ^ "Autarchoglossa". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 March 2011.