Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Squamate Morphology

  • Angele MartinsEmail author
  • Roberta A. Murta-Fonseca
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_150-1

Introduction

Squamates are grouped within the paraphyletic “Reptilia,” with Testudines (turtles), Crocodylia (crocodiles, alligators, and gavials), and Rhynchocephalia (tuataras). Rhychocephalia is the closest related to the Squamata, being its sister-group (clade Lepidosaura) and sharing many characters, as the skin covered by scales/plates that are partially impermeable and changed periodically, and a transversal cloacal slit. Squamata is the largest and most diversified clade of extant reptiles, comprising about 95% of its current diversity, with around 6500 lizard species, 3700 snake species, and 190 amphisbaenian species (Uetz and Hosek 2018).

It is not hard to recognize a squamate and morphologically distinguish it from other reptiles. The basic corporeal plan of a lizard, with an elevated head, short neck, four limbs, and long tail, distinguish them from most other reptiles (McDiarmid 2012). The differences between Squamata and Rhynchocephalia are subtler – the main difference...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Anatomia Comparativa de Vertebrados, Departamento de Ciências Fisiológicas, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasiliaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu NacionalUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alexis Garland
    • 1
  1. 1.Ruhr UniversityBochumGermany