European Legless Lizard
Anniellids are found in semi-arid regions in southern coastal California and Baja, Mexico. Anniellids burrow through loose, well-drained soil and leaf litter. Characters that distinguish anniellids from other Anguimorphs include extensive parietal downgrowths, reduction in the tympanic crest of the quadrate, loss of the interclavicle and reduction of the jugal. Anniellids have smooth scales and are cryptically colored, ranging from silvery to a darker beige. Anniellids are roughly pencil sized, about 20 cm or less, and thin of body. They can autotomize their tails to avoid predation. Anniellids burrow during day and may surface forage at night, although anniellids are rarely found on the surface. Anniellids eat insects and larvae. Domestic cats have been observed digging for these lizards; other predators include other omnivorous and carnivorous mammals, and raptors. The burrows that anniellids make may aid in soil aeration.