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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous - present, 67–0 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Clade: Carusioidea
Family: Xenosauridae
Cope, 1886

Xenosauridae is a family of anguimorph lizards whose only living representative is the genus Xenosaurus, which is native to Central America. Xenosauridae also includes the extinct genera Exostinus and Restes. Also known as knob-scaled lizards, they have rounded, bumpy scales and osteoderms. Most living species prefer moist or semi-aquatic habitats, although they are widespread within their native regions, with some even inhabiting semi-arid scrub environments. They are carnivorous or insectivorous, and give birth to live young.[1]

The Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) was once regarded as a xenosaurid

Shinisaurus, the Chinese crocodile lizard, was once also regarded as a member of Xenosauridae, but most recent studies of the evolutionary relationships of anguimorphs consider Shinisaurus to be more closely related to monitor lizards and helodermatids than to Xenosaurus.[2] The fossil record of Xenosauridae extends back to the end of the Late Cretaceous with the species Exostinus lancensis. Xenosauridae is part of a larger clade or evolutionary grouping called Carusioidea, which, in addition to xenosaurids, includes the extinct genus Carusia.[3]


  1. ^ Bauer, Aaron M. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G., eds. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 159–160. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  2. ^ Bhullar, B. A. S. (2011). "The Power and Utility of Morphological Characters in Systematics: A Fully Resolved Phylogeny of Xenosaurus and Its Fossil Relatives (Squamata: Anguimorpha)". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 160 (3): 65–181. doi:10.3099/0027-4100-160.3.65. 
  3. ^ Conrad, J. L.; Ast, J. C.; Montanari, S.; Norell, M. A. (2011). "A combined evidence phylogenetic analysis of Anguimorpha (Reptilia: Squamata)". Cladistics. 27 (3): 230–277. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2010.00330.x. 

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