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a family of lizards. The body measures up to 65 cm in length. The tail is brittle, and the torso has bony plates, called osteoderms, under the scales. The family comprises approximately 700 species, belonging to 60 genera. The Scincidae are distributed mainly in the tropical zone of the eastern hemisphere; the Australian zoographic subregion is especially rich in species. There are ten species in the USSR, belonging to four genera: Mabuya (one species, the mabuya), Eumeces (three species), Ablepharus (six species; according to some data, five species), and Ophiomorus (one species, the sand skink).
Most Scincidae are terrestrial; some live in trees or partly in water. Burrowing Scincidae usually have more elongated bodies, with limbs that are either partially or totally lost and eyes that are reduced. The Scincidae feed on invertebrates, mainly insects; some also eat plants, and large species feed on vertebrates. Most Scincidae lay eggs, but several species are ovoviviparous or viviparous.
REFERENCESZhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 2. Moscow, 1969.
Bannikov, A. G., I. S. Darevskii, and A. K. Rustamov. Zemnovodnye i presmykaiushchiesia SSSR. Moscow, 1971.