Unlike most reptiles which lay eggs externally, Xenosaurus platyceps is viviparous; the mother will give birth to live young which have developed inside her body!
This species is part of the Xenosauridae family of reptiles which diverged around 88 million years ago, around the time that humans and rabbits shared a common ancestor.
The major threat facing this species is habitat loss and fragmentation from the development of tourism in the area and through conversion of land to agricultural use. This species does not move between these fragments and therefore small isolated populations can occur. Feral cat predation is also a threat.
Xenosaurus platyceps is not found in any protected areas and so there is an urgent need to create protected areas to conserve it. Outreach and education programs are also required, particularly to teach tourists about this unusual lizard and more research is needed into its ecology and biology to help protect this species.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Xenosauridae
- Population: Common
- Trend: decreasing
Xenosaurus platyceps is found in the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico where it is found in the south-eastern Tamaulipas, around 1,300- 1,400 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is present in primary dry scrub forest and oak savanna habitats. It is found at rocky sites in rock crevices.