Checkerboard worm lizard

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Checkerboard worm lizard
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Trogonophidae
Genus: Trogonophis
Species: T. wiegmanni
Binomial name
Trogonophis wiegmanni
(Kaup, 1830)[1]
Trogonophis wiegmanni range Map.png

The checkerboard worm lizard, Trogonophis wiegmanni, is a species of reptile in the Trogonophidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Trogonophis.[2] It is found in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, temperate grassland, sandy shores, arable land, and pastureland. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Name: Checkerboard Worm Lizard.

Can be distinguished by their coloration. Trogonophis wiegmanni has a pale yellow ground color while T. w. elegans has a gray-white or light pink ground color.

Head: Rounded and slightly compressed dorso-ventrally. Snout slightly protruding. Two pairs of cephalic shields. Nostrils open forward. External ears absent. Skull elongate compared to other Trogonophidae.

Body: wormlike; legless, elongate, cylindrical, and annulated. Sunken lateral lines. Short conical tail lacking autotomy. A relatively short and stout body relative to other legless lizards. Both sexes lack pre-anal pores.


This species can found in areas with abundant leaf litter, sandy soil[3] and moist soil that is covered with stones and other ground cover. It can also be found near roadsides, in traditionally cultivated areas, in oak forest and oak-juniper forests, in sandy patches with no vegetation and in steppe habitat.[4]

T. wiegmanni has a tolerance for a broad range of habitats such as; temperate forest, shrub land, temperate grassland, artificial/terrestrial arable Land, and artificial/terrestrial pastureland.[5]


Scientific Name: Trogonophis wiegmanni

Common Name(s): English: Checkerboard Worm Lizard; French: Trogonophis; German: Wiegmann's Spitzschwanz Doppelschleiche


T. wiegmanni is native to the countries of northern Algeria, western Morocco, the Chafarinas Islands [Spain], and northwestern Tunisia.[6]

This species can be found anywhere between sea level and 1,900 meters above it.[7]

Interactions with Humans[edit]

Only representative of the family Trogonophidae in North Africa.

They showed a preference for areas with 5–10 cm high vegetation cover (i.e., perennial bushes and scrubs.



This species can be found mostly under rocks/stones in their specific habitats sometimes in pairs. Individuals of the same sex in this species are never found together under the same rock indicating intrasexual intolerance. Females benefit from male presence through enhanced vigilance or reduced harassment by other males within this species.[8]


Trogonophis wiegmanni consumes a variety of insects and other soil invertebrates.


  • Miras, J.A.M., Joger, U., Pleguezuelos, J. & Slimani, T. (2005). Trogonophis wiegmanni. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Bellairs, A.; Shute, C.C.D. (1954). "Notes on the herpetology of an Algerian beach". Copeia. 1954 (3): 224–226. doi:10.2307/1439203. 
  • Boulenger, George A. (1891). Catalogue of the reptiles and batrachians of Barbary (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), based chiefly upon the notes and collections made in 1880-1884 by M. Fernand Lataste. Tr. Zool. Soc. 13: 93-164
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol.5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp.
  • Gans, C (2005). "CHECKLIST AND BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AMPHISBAENIA OF THE WORLD". Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 289: 1–130. doi:10.1206/0003-0090(2005)289<0001:cabota>;2. 
  • Gervais, PAUL (1835). Les principaux résultats de l'étude . . . de reptiles envoyés de Barbarie. Bull. Soc. Sci. Nat. France (dernier trimestre), Séance de 23 Dec. 1835, Vol. 1: 112-114.