Super excited to find this legless lizard at the Farm!!! Another volunteer had been digging up some weeds near a peach tree and unearthed this guy. It was living in some recently planted loose soil that is mostly loamy and regularly irrigated. The farm is within 500 feet of the Tijuana River.
We have very sandy soil and I found him under a rock. I have seen 3 or 4 in the two years I have lived here but this is the first one that I caught alive.
Air temperature 75 F, thick cloud cover, misty air with very light drizzle and low light intensity. Humidity about 85%. Lizard found in sand that was damp to a depth of 5-15 mm, beneath which it was dry. Observed at 1640 hrs under mock heather on west-facing low sand dune. So far, I have never observed this species close to the invasive ice plant, being restricted to sands under mock heather and lupine.
Yes, it is a lizard not a snake. These lizards sometimes referred to as glass lizards have come so accustomed to their sandy habitats that their legs have over the ages have evolved to indistinguishable nubs. Burrowing through the sand feeding on small invertebrates these lizards truly are an amazing feat of evolutionary specialization. What separates a legless lizard from a snake is their anatomy. Primarily snakes bone structures are differ from the legless lizard especially surrounding their skulls and jaws. to be continued...
Infrequently observed, but comes to surface in late afternoon, perhaps to catch last of sun's heat.
Found in sand under ice plants; not in proximity of local scorpions, which occur in the same lot, but drier microhabitats. Lizards very active, constantly in motion, devilishly difficult to photograph.
The family Anniellidae, known as American legless lizards contains two species in a single genus Anniella: A. pulchra, the California legless lizard, with two subspecies A. p. pulchra and A. p. nigra, and the rare A. geronimensis, the Baja California legless lizard.