Leaping Legless Lizards!
Four previously unknown species of legless lizard have been described in California, report researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and Cal State-Fullerton.
The species, all members of the Anniella genus, were hiding in plain site, living in marginal habitats that included “a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley, on the margins of the Mojave desert, and at the end of one of the runways at LAX”, according to a statement from UC Berkeley.
“This shows that there is a lot of undocumented biodiversity within California,” Theodore Papenfuss, a herpetologist at UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, said in a statement. Papenfuss described the new species with James Parham of California State University, Fullerton.
“These are animals that have existed in the San Joaquin Valley, separate from any other species, for millions of years, completely unknown,” said Parham. “If you want to preserve biodiversity, it is the really distinct species like these that you want to preserve.”
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