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Ophisaurus ventralis (LINNAEUS, 1766)

IUCN Red List - Ophisaurus ventralis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Anguinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Eastern Glass Lizard 
SynonymAnguis ventralis LINNAEUS 1766: 391
Ophisaurus punctatus CUVIER 1829: 70 (fide BRYGOO 1987)
Ophisaurus striatulus CUVIER 1829: 70 (fide BRYGOO 1987)
Ophisaurus ventralis var. A-E DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 423
Ophisaurus ventralis — HALLOWELL 1856: 239
Ophisaurus ventralis var. — HALLOWELL 1856: 307
Ophisaurus ventralis — COUES 1871: 48
Ophisaurus ventralis — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 138
Ophisaurus ventralis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 460
Ophisaurus ventralis — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009 
DistributionUSA (SE Louisiana, S Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, E North Carolina, Virginia, Florida),
Caribbean: Cayman Islands (introduced)

Type locality: "Carolina"; restricted to the vicinity of Charleston, South Carolina, by Neill, 1949.  
TypesHolotype: Unknown (McConkey 1954)
Syntypes: MNHN-RA [ventralis var. A-E DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: An Ophisaurus differing from other North American members of the genus by the following characters taken in combination: the white spots of the dorsum occur on the posterior edges of the scales, never primarily in the middle of the scales; and the scales along the lateral fold number 98 or more [McConkey 1954: 137] 
CommentIllustrations: see Conant and Collins 1991, among many others.

Limb morphology: Limbless.

Synonymy: Ophisaurus ventralis sulcatus is now considered as a synonym of P. attenuatus.

Type Species: Anguis ventralis LINNAEUS 1766 is the type species of the genus Ophisaurus DAUDIN 1803.

Phylogenetics: The genus Ophisaurus was paraphyletic in the analysis of Pyron et al. 2013.

Fossils: In North America, the Anguinae are known in the Miocene from disarticulated fossils attributed to Ophisaurus from Canada (Holman 1970) and Colorado (Holman 2003) and more recently in the Southeastern US from the Pliocene and Pleistocene (Auffenburg 1955, Auffenburg 1956). Another species, O. hallensis has been described from the Miocene in Germany and England (Meszoely & Haubold, 1975, Meszoely & Ford 1976). 
EtymologyPossibly named after the snake-like locomotion on its belly (Latin venter).

The generic name is from the Greek words ophis, meaning "serpent or snake" and sauros, meaning lizard, in reference to the snake-like appearance of this genus (Lemos-Espinal & Dixon 2013). 
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  • Auffenberg, W., 1955. Glass Lizards (Ophisaurus) in the Pleistocene and Pliocene of Florida. Herpetologica 11(2), 133-136
  • Auffenberg, W., 1956. Additional records of Pleistocene lizards from Florida. Quarterly J. Florida Acad. Sci. 19: 157–167
  • Blair, A.P. 1950. Notes on Two Anguid Lizards. Copeia 1950 (1): 57 - get paper here
  • Brygoo, E. R. 1987. Les types d'Anguid és (Reptiles, Sauriens) du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle Catalogue critique. Bulletin du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, 4e ser., 9, sect. A (Zool., BioI. & Ecol. anim.), (2), supplement, 3-20. - get paper here
  • Burt, Charles E. 1935. Further records of the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the middle west. American Midland Naturalist 16 (3): 311-336 - get paper here
  • Camper, Jeffrey D. 2019. The Reptiles of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, 288 pp. [review in Copeia 107 (3): 590, 2019] - get paper here
  • Caudill, Gretchen, Danny Caudill, Bobbi Carpenter, Kevin M. Enge and Henry N. Curry. 2014. Ophisaurus ventralis (eastern glass lizard) predation. Herpetological Review 45 (4): 698 - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. and T. W. Taggart 2009. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Sixth Edition. Center for North American Herpetology, 48 pp.
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Coues, Elliot 1871. Notes on the natural history of Fort Macon, N.C., and vicinity. (No.1). Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 1871: 12-48 - get paper here
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  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
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  • DURSO, ANDREW M. & KENDALYNN A. MORRIS. 2022. OPHISAURUS VENTRALIS (Eastern Glass Lizard). HABITAT. Herpetological Review 53 (2): 325–326.
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  • Günther, A. C. L. G. 1885. Reptilia and Batrachia. Biologia Centrali-Américana. Taylor, & Francis, London, 326 pp. [published in parts from 1885-1902; reprint by the SSAR 1987] - get paper here
  • Guyer, Craig; Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount 2018. Lizards and snakes of Alabama. University of Alabama Press, 397 pp. - get paper here
  • Hallowell, E. 1856. Notice of a collection of reptiles from Kansas and Nebraska, presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Dr. Hammond, U.S.A. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 8: 238-253 - get paper here
  • Hallowell, E. 1856. Note on the collection of reptiles from the neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, recently presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Dr. A. Heermann. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 8: 306-310 - get paper here
  • Holman A., 2003. Early Hemingfordian (Early Miocene) Squamate Reptiles from the Quarry A Local Fauna, Logan County, Colorado. The Free Library. Michigan Academy of Science Arts & Letters y...-a0103403524 - get paper here
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  • Langner, Ch. 2019. Ich komme Dir auf die Schliche! Verkanntes Schleichenvolk – die interessanten Echsen der Familie Anguidae. Reptilia (Münster) 24 (136): 16-27 - get paper here
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  • Lönnberg, Einar 1894. Notes on reptiles and batrachians collected in Florida in 1892 and 1893. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 17 (1003): 317-339 - get paper here
  • McConkey, Edwin H. 1954. A systematic study of the North American lizards of the genus Ophisaurus. American Midland Naturalist 51 (1): 133-171 - get paper here
  • Meszoely, C.A.M. & H. Haubold 1975. The Status of the Middle Eocene Geiseltal Limbless Anguid Lizards Copeia 1975 (1): 36-43. - get paper here
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  • Neill, W.T. 1949. Forms of Ophisaurus in the southeastem United States. Herpetologica 5 (4): 97-100. - get paper here
  • Noble, G. K.;Mason, E. R. 1933. Experiments on the brooding habits of the lizards Eumeces and Ophisaurus. American Museum Novitates (619): 1-29 - get paper here
  • Palmer, W.M. & Braswell, A.L. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. Univ. North Carolina Press
  • Palmer, William M. 1988. Rediscovery of the Holotype of Ophisaurus ventralis sulcatus (COPE). Herpetological Review 19 (1): 9 - get paper here
  • Pyron, R.A.; Frank T Burbrink, John J Wiens 2013. A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evol Biol 13: 93 - get paper here
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