Limpopo girdled lizard

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Limpopo girdled lizard
Cordylus jonesii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Cordylidae
Genus: Cordylus
Species: C. jonesii
Binomial name
Cordylus jonesii

The Limpopo girdled lizard (Cordylus jonesii) lives along South Africa's border with Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. These lizards are arboreal inhabitants of dry forests, where they hide under loose bark and in hollow tree limbs.

The dorsal pattern varies from red to brown to gray, with dark spots or lines. On some individuals, the lines fuse into a black-bordered white stripe along the midline of the back. The Limpopo girdled lizard has a distinct dark dorsolateral stripe running from the head to the hips. The belly, throat, and lips are cream to yellow. The tail is very spiny and about 45% the total length of the animal. The maximum length is about 166 mm.

The Limpopo girdled lizard is sometimes classified as a subspecies of the tropical girdled lizard (Cordylus tropidosternum). When both species are held together, the Limpopo girdled lizard has a noticeably shorter snout. The nostril pierces the center of the nasal scale (the lower posterior corner of the nasal in C. tropidosternum). Scales on the throat and belly of Limpopo girdled lizards are smooth instead of keeled. Limpopo girdled lizards are exported from Mozambique for the pet trade, where they are often mislabeled as Cordylus vittifer. They make hardy captives, feeding on insects and other small arthropods.[citation needed]


  • Branch, B., 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa: Ralph Curtis Books Publishing, Sanibel Island, Florida, 399 p.
  • Broadley, D. G., and Branch, W. R., 2002. A review of the small east African Cordylus (Sauria: Cordylidae), with the description of a new species: African Journal of Herpetology, 51(1): 9–34.