New species of legless lizards found at LA airport
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 7:28 -
Scientists in California have discovered four new and separate species of legless lizards.
The snakelike animals burrow into sand or soil.
They were found on the edge of the Mojave Desert, among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley, at the end of a runway at LA International Airport, and in a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield.
"This shows that there is a lot of undocumented biodiversity within California," said Theodore Papenfuss, one of the scientists, in a press release.
Legless lizards look very similar to snakes, but are distinguishable based on things like eyelids, external ear openings, lack of broad belly scales and/or a very long tail. Snakes, conversely, have a long body and a short tail.
The researchers are now working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine whether the lizards need protected status.
With files from Discovery news