The snake-meets-worm legless lizard in hushed shades of rose surprised the scientists who found it.
You think you know lizards. And then, this appears out of nowhere: The ol' Mexican mole lizard. Despite its appearance, it is not a worm, and it is not a snake. It is a legless lizard – but since everything about this creature is unusual, it is a legless lizard with legs. Even if they are just two little T-rex grabbers to help it effectively scoot about and dig..
University of California Berkeley graduate student Kaitlyn Kraybill-Voth along with herpetologist Sara Ruane from Rutgers University-Newark were out in Baja California, Mexico, setting traps for a general biodiversity survey. Since this candy-colored cutie – who is 9-inches long, by the way – rarely breaks the surface, the scientists were more than surprised to see it.
“It was shocking to see one in this trap, I couldn’t believe it was in there,” says Ruane.
Known to the science set as Bipes biporus, the animals belong to the family of amphisbaenians, a group of legless lizards that are more closely related to legged lizards than they are to snakes.
Of the roughly 200 amphisbaenian species, only three of them have legs – cute little paddle legs meant for digging and getting around. Of which they do remarkably well! See it all in in the video below, taken by Kraybill-Voth, and marvel at what a wonderfully diverse world we live in, a world in which there may be long pink legless lizards taking care of business right below our feet.
Read more about the blushing wonder at National Geographic.