Ophisaurus ventralis

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Ophisaurus ventralis
Eastern Glass Lizard.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Autarchoglossa
Family: Anguidae
Genus: Ophisaurus
Species: O. ventralis
Binomial name
Ophisaurus ventralis
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Ophisaurus ventralis distribution.png
  • Anguis ventralis - Linnaeus, 1766[1]

Ophisaurus ventralis, the eastern glass lizard, is a legless lizard species found in the Southeastern United States.


Adults grow to 46–108 cm (18–43 in) in length, although the head-body length is only 30.5 cm (12.0 in) at most. There are 99 or more scales along the lateral groove. In this species, no dark longitudinal stripes are present below the lateral groove or under the tail, and there is no distinct mid-dorsal stripe. The neck is marked with a series of mostly vertical, or highly irregular, white marks, with white markings on posterior corners of scales. Dorsally, older specimens have a pattern consisting of numerous longitudinal dark lines or dashes. Occasionally, similar parallel lines cover the entire mid-dorsal area. Older adults may be greenish above and yellow below; this is the only Ophisaurus species that may have a greenish appearance. Juveniles are khaki-colored and usually have two dark stripes that run down the back.[2]

No subspecies are currently recognized.[1]

Geographic range[edit]

This species is commonly found from North Carolina to south Florida and west to Louisiana. Isolated records exist of its occurrence in Oklahoma and Missouri.[2]


It prefers wet meadows, grasslands, and pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks.[2]


They eat a range of insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets and beetles, and will also consume spiders, small mice, snails, and the eggs of other reptiles and ground-nesting birds. Unlike snakes, glass lizards do not have flexible jaws, and this limits the size of prey items they can consume. They forage both above ground and underground in burrows.



  1. ^ a b "Ophisaurus ventralis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 30 June 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Conant R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Second Edition. First published in 1958. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston. 429 pp. 48 plates. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hc), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (pb).

External links[edit]