Dibamidae - blind lizards


Lepidosauria; Squamata; Dibamidae

The dibamids (or blind lizards) are a group of small, limbless lizards whose phylogenetic affinities have long been disputed. To learn more about their place in squamate phylogeny, please return to the Squamata main page.

Diversity and Lower Taxonomy:

There are 10 species of dibamid, divided between two genera:Dibamus and Anelytropsis. The former contains all but one species.

Distribution and Habitat:

  • Dibamus spp. - inhabit the rainforests of southeast Asia (including Indonesia and the Philippines) and Western New Guinea.
  • Anelytropsis papillosus - present only in Mexico, inhabiting dense forest, pine-oak forest, semi-arid deciduous brush, or open shrubland.

All dibamids are fossorial, burrowing in soil or under rocks or felled logs on the forest floor.

Conservation Status (IUCN):

No members of the genus Dibamus have been issued a conservation status by the IUCN. Anelytropsis papillosus is listed as Least Concern (LC).


  • Limbless - although males have small, vestigial hindlimbs; these are flaplike and used to grasp females during mating.
  • Vestigial eyes covered by a scale.
  • Lack external ear openings.
  • Cranial consolidation - rigidly fused skull - an adaptation for a burrowing mode of life

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