Types of Lizards

Published on: Dec 31 2010 by Shenron

Lizards are the most common, familiar and adaptable reptiles found on the planet earth. There are over 3500 different known types of lizards found across the globe. Lizards usually inhabit in the tropical zone having warm conditions. Lizards are mostly tetrapods and have the ability to move fast, but there are some types which are legless and only have hind legs. The important feature of lizards is that they can shed their tails to move away quickly from their predators.

Lizard is an egg laying reptile that lives in trees, underground, on the bank or rivers or in the deserts. Depending upon their characteristics, lizards are categorized into several different families. Each family constitutes different species of lizards.

Below is given the classification of lizards:

  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Superclass – Tetrapoda
  • Class – Reptilia
  • Order – Squamata
  • Sub-Order – Lacertilia

From the above classification, the sub-order is further divided into 20 families. Each and every family consists of different types of lizards of various genuses. These genuses further constitute different species of lizards. Below is given a brief description of these different species of lizards.

Common Families or Groups of Lizards

Geckos: It is a small type of lizard which belongs to the family of Gekkonidae. These lizards further have three sub families which are Eublepharinae, Gekkoninae and Sphaerodactylinea. About 2000 gecko species are known all over the world. Geckos have a unique characteristic of producing sounds range from high pitch to low pitch. These sounds are meant for communication with other geckos. Geckos don’t have eyelids and they have toes which allow them to climb any sort of surface. These lizards are found in warm climates. Some of the common types of geckos are:

  • Leopard Gecko
  • House Gecko
  • Tokay Gecko
  • Golden Gecko
  • Mourning Gecko

Iguanas: Iguanas are the types of lizards which come under the family Iguanidae. Iguanas are known to be the biggest family of the lizards. This family of lizards contains 700 species of lizards. Iguanas are commonly found in America and are popular lizards that are used as pets. These lizards can reside in trees and often in water. They have well-developed limbs, few of them have dewlaps and long nails. Different species of lizards that come under this group are:

  • Anoles
  • Iguana
  • Swifts
  • Curlytails
  • Green Iguana
  • Red-sided Curlytail
  • Mexican Emerald Swift
  • Collared Lizard
  • Green Anole

Chameleons: It is a type of lizard that belongs to the family of Chamaeleonidae, commonly found in Asia, Europe and Africa. These lizards have a large head, compressed body and an adhesive tongue used to capture insects easily. They have one distinctive feature of changing skin color. The change in color can be due to various factors such as temperature, self defense and environmental conditions. They have a special type of cells which help them change the color according to the situation. Some of the common species of Chameleons include:

  • Jackson’s Chameleon
  • Madagascan Chameleon
  • Common Chameleon
  • Veiled Chameleon
  • Four Horned Chameleon

Skinks: Skinks belong to the family of Scincidae. These types of lizards are commonly found all over the world such as in America, Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. Most of the skinks are insectivorous, but there are some species which are omnivorous. They bear a circular body, having small neck and legs, few skinks don’t even have legs. They reside on land and are good burrowers. Some of the commonly found species include:

  • Desert Skink
  • Striped Skink
  • Green Tree Skink
  • Blue-tongued Skink
  • Apocathary Skink

The types and families given above are considered as major types and species of lizards. There are however, other types lizards belong to different families. These are:

  • Basilisk (Family – Corytophanidae)
  • Agamid (Family – Agamidae)
  • Tegus and Greaved Lizard (Family – Teiidae)
  • Monitor Lizard (Family – Varanidae)
  • Typical Lizard (Family – Lacertidae)
  • Girdled and Plated Lizard (Family – Cordylidae)
  • Alligator Lizard (Family – Anguidae)
  • Flap-footed Lizard (Family – Pygopodidae)
  • Night Lizard (Family – Xantusiidae)
  • Crocodile Lizard (Family – Xenosauridae)
  • Beaded Lizard (Family – Helodermatidae)
  • Burrowing Slow Worm (Family – Anniellidae)
  • Limbless Skink (Family – Feylinidae)
  • Old World Burrowing Lizard (Family – Dibamidae)
  • Mexican Burrowing Lizard (Family – Anelytropsidae)

Geckos, green iguana and chameleons are the types of lizards known as pet lizards and people love to keep them. If you are one who wants to pet the lizard then you need to have all the information about their habitat, diet and living conditions. In pet lizards, some want routine care and some require extra care and attention. Remember each lizard has its own different needs and before you choose any one, make sure you have enough information about that type of lizard.

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