lizard

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lizard,

a reptilereptile,
name for the dry-skinned, usually scaly, cold-blooded vertebrates (see Chordata) of the order Reptilia. Reptiles are found in a variety of habitats throughout the warm and temperate regions (except on some islands), with the greatest variety in the tropics.
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 of the order Squamata, which also includes the snakesnake,
common name for an elongated, limbless reptile of the order Squamata, which also includes the xlizards. Most snakes live on the ground, but some are burrowers, arboreal, or aquatic; one group is exclusively marine. In temperate climates they hibernate.
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. Lizards form the suborder Sauria, and there are over 3,000 lizard species distributed throughout the world (except for the polar regions), with the greatest number found in warm climates. They range in size from gecko species under 3-4 in. (2 cm) long to the 10-ft (3-m) Komodo dragon (see monitormonitor,
any of various, mostly tropical lizards. A monitor lizard has a heavy body, long head and neck, long tail that comes to a whiplike end, and strong legs with sharp claws. Its slender, forked tongue is protrusible. Monitors range in size from the 8-in.
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) of SE Asia.

Lizards typically have four legs with five toes on each foot, although a few, such as the worm lizardworm lizard,
partially or entirely limbless burrowing lizard of the family Amphisbaenidae. All worm lizards lack hind limbs and most species lack forelimbs as well. Except for their size, they are very similar in appearance to earthworms, with cylindrical bodies ringed by
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 and the so-called glass snakeglass snake,
common name for the snakelike legless lizards of the genus Ophisaurus found in the S and central United States and in Eurasia. The shiny, scaled body is gray or greenish brown, sometimes striped above and whitish below.
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, are limbless, retaining only internal vestiges of legs. Lizards are also distinguished from snakes by having ear openings, movable eyelids, and less flexible jaws. As in snakes, there is a chemosensory organ opening in the roof of the mouth. The tongue, which may be short and wide, slender and forked, or highly extendible, conveys particles from the environment to this organ. The skin of the lizard is scaly and in most species is molted in irregular patches. Members of several lizard families, notably the chameleonschameleon
, small- to medium-sized lizard of the family Chamaeleonidae. More than 150 species are found in sub-Saharan Africa, with a few in S Europe and S Asia. The so-called common chameleon, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, is found around the Mediterranean.
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, undergo color changes under the influence of environmental and emotional stimuli.

Many lizards are arboreal, and many terrestrial species are well adapted for climbing. They are often fast runners, some achieving speeds of over 15 mi (24 km) per hr. Some are adapted for burrowing. Most can swim and a few lead a semiaquatic existence, among them the single marine species, an iguanaiguana
, name for several large lizards of the family Iguanidae, found in tropical America and the Galapagos. The common iguana (Iguana iguana) is a tree-living, strictly vegetarian species found along streams from Mexico to N South America.
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 of the Galapagos Islands. Gliding forms, the flying dragonsflying dragon,
gliding lizard of the genus Draco, found in tropical forests of SE Asia. There are about 15 species. Most are about 8 in. (20 cm) long. On either side of the lizard's body are thin, winglike folds of skin supported by five to seven ribs that extend from the
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, are found in the forests of SE Asia. The gila monstergila monster
, venomous lizard, Heloderma suspectum, found in the deserts of the SW United States and NW Mexico. It averages 18 in. (45 cm) in length, with a large head, stout body, thick tail that acts as a food reservoir, and short legs with strong claws.
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 and the related beaded lizard of the North American deserts are the only known poisonous lizards; some other lizards, such as the lace monitor of Australia, produce a nonfatal venom. Despite folklore, the bite of the geckogecko
, small or medium-sized lizard of the family Gekkonidae. Some 1,500 species are distributed throughout the warm regions of the world, mostly in the Old World. Despite folklore to the contrary, their bite is not poisonous.
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 is not poisonous. Members of most species are carnivorous, feeding especially on insects, but some are herbivorous or omnivorous.

Fertilization is internal in lizards; males have paired copulatory organs, characteristic of the order. In most species females lay eggs, which they bury in the ground, but in some the eggs are incubated in the oviducts and hatched as they are laid. In both types the young have a special temporary tooth for rupturing the shell. In a few species there is true viviparity, or live birth, with the young nourished by a simple placenta.

The greatest number of species in the United States is found in the South and West. The majority are members of the iguana family, including the collared lizards, swifts, utas, horned lizardshorned lizard
or horned toad,
broad, flat-bodied lizards of the genus Phrynosoma, found in arid regions from extreme SW Canada to Guatemala. There are several species in the United States W of the Mississippi. The body is 3 to 5 in. (7.6 to 12.
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 (popularly known as horned toads), and the so-called American chameleon, or anole. These are day-active lizards commonly seen basking on rocks. Most are valuable destroyers of insects.

Lizards are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, suborder Sauria.

Bibliography

See W. M. Milstead, ed., Lizard Ecology (1967); H. S. Fitch, Reproductive Cycles of Lizards and Snakes (1970); B. R. Headstrom, Lizards as Pets (1971).

What does it mean when you dream about a lizard?

Though a dream about any kind of an animal can represent our “animal” nature, lizards are not natural candidates for this role. Perhaps the lizard is a chameleon, which changes its color to conform to the environment. A dream lizard might also be a “lounge lizard.”

lizard

[′liz·ərd]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any reptile of the suborder Sauria.

Lizard

[′liz·ərd]
(astronomy)

lizard

any reptile of the suborder Lacertilia (or Sauria), esp those of the family Lacertidae (Old World lizards), typically having an elongated body, four limbs, and a long tail: includes the geckos, iguanas, chameleons, monitors, and slow worms

Lizard

the. a promontory in SW England, in SW Cornwall: the southernmost point in Great Britain