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New species of unique burrowing lizard discovered in Madagascar

18/01/2013 17:35:12

The newly discovered lizard has no legs and virtually no eyes. © Falk s. Eckhardt

Limbless and nearly eyeless lizard

January 2013. A new species of burrowing lizard has been discovered in Madagascar by an international team led by French researchers. Named Sirenoscincus mobydick in reference to the famous albino sperm whale from Herman Melville's novel, this species has a combination of unique anatomical features that make it stand out amongst terrestrial vertebrates. At the origin of the diversity of life forms, evolution is a modification of the characters genetic and morphological species over generations. It is a species will adapt to the environment in which it lives in order to increase and measure its chances of survival in this environment.

The "Moby Dick" lizard was discovered in the dry forests of Northwestern Madagascar is very different from other species of legless lizards. In addition to a lack of skin pigment, as it spends its whole life burrowing underground, it has almost completely lost its eyes. This new species of lizard, that spends most of its life burrowing in sand, also lost its legs.

These works were published late December 2012 in the Journal Zoosystema.

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