Pink-tailed worm-lizard

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Pink-tailed worm-lizard
Pink-tailed Worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) (9105308465).jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Pygopodidae
Genus: Aprasia
Species: A. parapulchella
Binomial name
Aprasia parapulchella
Kluge, 1974
Aprasia parapulchella distribution.svg

The pink-tailed worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) is a rare legless lizard found in Australia. The animal looks like a combination of small snake and worm. The total length is up to 14 cm long. It has a pink tail and is white underneath. The head and neck is brown and the rest of the top of the body is pale grey. Scales on the back each have a dark bar, and so the appearance is dots down the back.[1] It is found on two hills near Tarcutta, Bathurst, New South Wales, Bendigo in Victoria, and along the sides of the Molonglo River and Murrumbidgee River and on Mount Taylor in the Australian Capital Territory.[2] The lizards eat invertebrates that live under rocks. They can be found under rocks sized from 0.15 to 0.6 meters.[3] Their main diet is ant eggs, particularly from Iridomyrmex species and Rhytidoponera metallica.[4]


karotype of male lizard with Y chromosome indicated

Aprasia parapulchella cells have 42 chromosomes in the diploid state. Males of the species have a heteromorphic pair of chromosomes (a pair of two different ones), termed XY, and the females have a pair of same XX chromosomes. The microsatellite (AGAT)8 is strongly repeated near the Y chromosome centromere. The Y chromosome also contains the (AC)15 motif, whereas the X chromosome does not. (AC)15 also shows up on another two pairs of small and large chromosomes.[5]


The head and tail are both rounded in shape. It differs from a snake in that there are scaly hind limb flaps. Also the tongue is not forked but is flat and long. There are no ears visible.[6]

Species specific characteristics include absence of pattern on the side of the head, two pre-ocular scales, three pre-anal scales present, and first upper labial scale and nasal scale are fused.[1]

Masses of the lizards can range from 0.1 to 4.0 grams. At the age of one year they are around 6 cm from snout to vent, in the second year they reach 8 cm, and in the third year 9.6 cm. Adult males over three years old average 10.9 cm and females are slightly bigger at 12 cm.[7]


The lizard is threatened by habitat fragmentation, removal of rock, grazing, tree planting, weeds or ploughing.[2] [1]


  1. ^ a b c "Aprasia parapulchella — Pink-tailed Worm-lizard, Pink-tailed Legless Lizard". Species Profile and Threats Database. Canberra: Department of the Environment. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Factsheet - Aprasia parapulchella". Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Bendigo, Flora and Fauna Pink Tailed Worm Lizard". Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Georges, Arthur (22 December 1997). "The Role of Ant Communities in the Ecology of the Endangered Legless Lizard Aprasia parapulchella: An Interim Report" (PDF). Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Matsubara, Kazumi; Theresa Knopp; Stephen D Sarre; Arthur Georges; Tariq Ezaz (2013). "Karyotypic analysis and FISH mapping of microsatellite motifs reveal highly differentiated XX/XY sex chromosomes in the pink-tailed worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella, Pygopodidae, Squamata)". Molecular Cytogenetics. 6 (1): 60. doi:10.1186/1755-8166-6-60. ISSN 1755-8166. 
  6. ^ "Aprasia parapulchella: Pink-tailed Legless Lizard". Atlas of Living Australia. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  7. ^ David Thye Yau Wong (May 2013). "Environmental factors affecting the occurrence and abundance of the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) in the Australian Capital Territory" (PDF). 

Further reading[edit]

  • Wong, D.T.Y., S.R. Jones, W.S. Osborne, G.W. Brown, P. Robertson, D.R. Michael & G.M. Kay (2011). "The life history and ecology of the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard Aprasia parapulchella Kluge - a review". Australian Zoologist. 35 (4): 927–940. doi:10.7882/az.2011.045.