When learning about lizards, you will
undoubtedly come across terms you do not understand.
To understand the world of herpetology, you need to
know these terms, and how they apply to lizards.
Lizards that spend a large amount of time in trees are
classified as arboreal. The first part of the
word, arbor, is the latin word for 'tree'.
Self-severing, or self-amputation. In this case, the
ability of a lizard to drop it's own tail.
A lizard whom eats only meat (animals, insects) is said
to be carnivorous.
When a lizard is classified as 'Data Deficient' by the
IUCN, it means there is insufficient
data for proper conservation classification.
This terms simply refers to the weakening of the lizard.
This can refer to the bones, skin, tail or anything
that is getting weaker.
Not all lizards have dewlaps, but some do, like the
and Brown Anole.
A dewlap is the inflatable or extendable flap of skin
under their necks.
The term 'dorsal' refers to the backside, or top, of
a lizards body.
Diurnal is the opposite of nocturnal (see below). Diurnal
lizards follow a human sleep pattern; active and eating
during the day, while sleeping at night.
The term ectothermic refers to living things (animals,
plants, etc) that warm their bodies using external sources.
When a lizard is said to be 'endemic', it means they
are confined, restricted, or found only in a particular
A state of dormancy in which some lizards enter during
a hot and dry season. It is somewhat similar to hibernation,
but their bodies do not enter the same state.
This term means the item in question is situated near
the thigh, or femur. In lizards it most often refers
to pores located at the base of the tail.
This is the process of feeding prey nutritious food
with the intention of passing it on to the lizard.
A lizard that eats only fruits, vegetables, and other
plant matter is herbivorous.
Some lizards can place themselves in a state of regulated
hypothermia, which conserves energy during winter months,
and allows them to survive without food.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature
and Natural Resources) is an organization dedicated
to natural resource conservation. They are responsible
for classifying the conservation status' of lizards,
and other animals.
The study of the form, shape or configuration of an
organism or part of an organism.
When a lizard is nocturnal, it means they are
active during the night. A nocturnal lizard will sleep
during the daytime and hunt for food at night.
A row of spikes starting large at the base of the head
that gets smaller as it moves down to the base of the
Animals that eat both meat and plant matter are said
to be omnivorous.
An animal that is oviparous, like most lizards, lay
eggs as opposed to giving live birth. Little development
happens inside the mother.
These animals retain eggs inside their body, and give birth to live offspring.
Female lizards that are parthenogenetic develop eggs
without the fertilization from a male.
The pineal gland in lizards regulates their internal
biological clock, and helps in thermoregulation.
It is located on the surface of the brain, and is connected
to their Parietal
The term preanal means 'before the anus'. With lizards
it most often refers to pores located on the underside
of the lizard, located immediately before the anus.
The abbreviation for snout-vent length is SVL, and is
commonly used when describing the size of a lizard.
This is the measurement from the tip of their snout,
to the opening of their vent.
Lizards that live partially or entirely on land are
classified as terrestrial.
Lizards are cold-blooded and do not produce an internal
temperature. They have to regulate their body temperature
using their external environment, and this is referred
to as thermoregulation.
These are wart-like projections, or rounded bumps, commonly
found on lizards.
The underside (abdomen, or belly) of a lizard.