Ajotles or Mexican mole lizards (Bipes)
These carnivorous, burrowing reptiles differ from other worm lizards as they have have two stubby forelimbs placed just behind the head (1). They use the shovel-like limbs and well-developed claws to scrape away soil while they burrow through the soil, rather like a mole (2), but can place the limbs in recessed areas alongside the body. The expanded ulnar scales on the limbs help to move soil as the animal digs through substrate. The overhanging flesh just behind the point of insertion of the front limb lets the ajotle reduce its circumference while it moves through a tunnel (3). The tail is short and blunt and breaks off along fracture planes if it is grabbed by a predator. Ajotles cannot regenerate a lost tail.
Ajotles live beneath debris, litter, rocks and the roots of small shrubs and grasses.
Predators include snakes and large predaceous arthropods. When an ajotle is picked up, it energetically jumps and writhes like an earthworm, contorting its body to avoid the grip of a predator. It keeps its head hidden and releases a foul smelling musk from the cloaca (3).
There are four species.
- 1) http://www.whatamidoingonline.com/2012/09/21/10-amazing-creatures-find-adventuring/
- 2) Gans, Carl, H.G. Cogger and R.G. Zweifel, ed (1998). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 216–217. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
- 3) http://www.wormlizard.org/Bipes_biporus.html
- Other references
- Animal Diversity Web
- ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
- Latreille, P.A. in Sonnini, C.S., and P.A. Latreiile. 1801. Histoire naturelle des reptiles, avec figures desinées d'après nature; Tome II. Premiere partie. Quadrupèdes et bipèdes ovipares. Crapalet. Paris. 332 pp. (Bipes, pp. 90–96.)
- Taylor, E.H. 1951. Concerning Oligocene Amphisbaenid Reptiles. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 34 (9): 521-579. (Bipedidae, p. 522.)
- Wikispecies. species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Bipes.
No one has provided updates yet.