Ophisaurus attenuatus -- Slender Glass Lizard
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Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: Limbs absent; dark longitudinal stripes flank a noticeable groove on each side of the body.
Similar Species: May be distinguished from snakes by the presence of movable eyelids and external ear openings.
Subspecies: Western slender glass lizard, O. a. attenuatus.
Description: A long (up to 90 cm TL), slender lizard with yellow to brown back sporting six longitudinal stripes, including a distinct middorsal stripe. White flecks in the middle of the scales sometimes form light stripes.
Habitat: Prairies, sand prairies, old fields, and dry open woodlands.
Natural History: Known as the glass lizard because of the easily broken tail. Glass lizards eat invertebrates and small lizards. Mating occurs in May and 5 to 15 eggs are laid in late June or July. Hatchlings range from 10 to 13 cm TL. Hawks and carnivorous mammals are the main predators.
Status: The slender glass lizard is not listed as threatened in Illinois although it is seldom encountered.