Long like a small snake, bright pink like an earthworm, and usually burrowing underground with the help of two tiny front legs, the Bipes biporus is an elusive lizard endemic to the Mexican peninsula of Baja California. Sometimes called a Mexican mole lizard, a five-toed worm lizard, or a Baja worm lizard, these amphisbaenians are rarely seen above ground, but herpetologist and evolutionary biologist Sara Ruane managed to catch one in a pitfall trap (before releasing it) near Baja’s Scorpion Bay.
Mexican mole lizards tunnel through sand, loose soil, and leaf litter with their small but powerful limbs. Their diet consists of a wide variety of prey, from earthworms and insects to arachnids and small lizards—essentially anything they can catch and swallow. While their eyes are greatly reduced compared to most lizards, a massive bone in their middle ear allows the surprisingly fierce predators to detect vibrations in the ground and track their prey. Only rarely do mole lizards surface, either after a rain or under cover of darkness as they search for food.
…most experts think the species may be the most common reptile in the region. While little is known about the Mexican mole lizard’s life history and behavior, the species’ abundance and the unusual niche it fills as an underground predator suggest that it’s a critical member of the region’s food web.
Biographic also has the vid with Spanish subtitles.
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