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(girdle-tailed lizards), a family of reptiles of the order Sauria. The body length reaches 40 cm, and the tail is usually slightly shorter than the body. In limbless lizards of the genus Chamaesauria, however, the tail length is 2.5 times greater than the body length. The coloration above is generally muddy orange or dark brown. The scales are annular or strongly ribbed, usually arranged in regular rings. In some species, a few of the head and tail scales end in large spines directed backward. The club-tailed cordylids (genus Cordylus) have a short trunk and well-developed limbs. Snake lizards (genus Chamaesaura) are elongate and snakelike, and their legs are underdeveloped, as seen in the large-scaled snake lizard (C. macrolepis). Sometimes the anterior limbs are absent, with the hind limbs preserved in the form of small appendages.
The club-tailed cordylids are represented by 30 species, distributed in southern and tropical Africa. Most species inhabit rocky mountain slopes or live in the grass. The snakes are ovoviviparous, producing two to seven young. They feed on invertebrates and, less frequently, on plants. Large species sometimes attack small vertebrates.
I. S. DAREVSKII