Anguids of the United States
Anguid lizards are characterized by elongated, shiny, and stiff bodies and tails with closeable eyelids, external ear openings, and tiny (or absent) legs adn toes. The stiffness is a result of an abundance of bony armor (osteoderms) in the skin. Many species are so stiff they culd not expand to breathe were it not for a lengthwise flexible groove of soft granular scales along the side. All the species in our range have this groove.
Most anguids are terrestrial or burrowing. While some species will bite, the ptimary defenses are fleeing, smearing an attacker with excrement, and giving up part of the tail. In some species the tail vertebrae have fracture planes along which the tail willreadily break, laeving the writhing tip to be eaten by the predator while the rest of the lizard crawls to safety. In legless species, in which the tail may account for more than half the total length, the loss of a tail may give the impression that the lizrd has been broken in two. Contrary to folklore, the parts will not grow together again, but the body will grow a new tail in several weeks.
Anguids are carnivores. They consume insects, small mammals, and other lizards. most are egg-layers, but a few mountain-dwellers bear live young.
There are 8 species of Anguids in the U.S.
Found along the coast and in the Sierra Nevada range, northern California to southern british Columbia, sutheast into northern Idaho and western Montana. Disjunct populations in extreme northeastern California (Modoc County) and southern Oregon (Lake County).
Found from southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico south into Mexico along the Sierra Madre-Occidental.
Found from the Edwards Plateau and Big Bend regions of Texas south into Mexico.
Found from southern Washington south through western Oregon and California into northern Baja California
Found in the Panamint, Nelson, and Inyo mountains of east-central California.
Found from Virginia to Florida, west to Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska,north to southern Wisconsin and Illinois.
Found from east coast and offshore islands of South Carolina, Georgia, and peninsular Florida.
Found from the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, through Florida to central Louisiana.