Mexican mole lizard

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Mexican mole lizard
Bipes biporus.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Bipedidae
Genus: Bipes
Species: B. biporous
Binomial name
Bipes biporous
(Cope, 1894)
Synonyms

The Mexican mole lizard (Bipes biporus), commonly known as the five-toed worm lizard, or simply as Bipes, is a species of amphisbaenian,[2] which is endemic to the Baja California Peninsula. It is one of four species of amphisbaenians that have legs. It should not be confused with the axolotl, a salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum), which is usually called ajolote in Spanish. It is commonly found in Baja California.

Description[edit]

They are pink, worm-like lizards, 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. Blunt heads allow them to burrow into sandy soils efficiently. The forelegs are strong and paddle-like, while the hindlegs have disappeared, leaving behind only vestigial bones visible in X-rays.[2] The tail on these worm-like lizards are autotomous without any regeneration.

Reproduction[edit]

This species is oviparous and the females lay one to four eggs in July. The species only breeds underground. The eggs hatch after two months.

Geographic range[edit]

The Mexican mole lizard (B. biporus) is found in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Guerrero and Chiapas, in Mexico.

Behavior[edit]

Like all other amphisbaenians, this burrowing species only surfaces at night or after heavy rain. It uses its autotomous tail as an escape tatic for predators. Losing a part of the tail while burrowing can plug up the hole behind it, giving it time to escape from any kind of predator that might be chasing it down.

Diet[edit]

It is an opportunist carnivore and eats ants, termites, ground-dwelling insects, larvae, earthworms, and small animals including lizards. It usually pulls its prey under ground to start its meal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stejneger, L., and T. Barbour. 1917. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 125 pp. (Bipes biporus, p. 72.)
  2. ^ a b "Absurd Creature of the Week: The Adorable Mexican Mole Lizard Has a Disgusting Reputation". this is one of the strangest, most mysterious reptiles on Earth (it technically isn’t a lizard or a snake, but sits in a category all its own, the amphisbaenians), with powerful front limbs and rear limbs that have vanished save for vestigial bones you can only make out on X-rays. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.)

External links[edit]