Ophisaurus attenuatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Anguidae

Scientific Name: Ophisaurus attenuatus Cope, 1880
Common Name(s):
English Slender Glass Lizard
Taxonomic Notes: Prior to 1954 (McConkey 1954), all glass lizards (including species now known as Ophisaurus attentuatus, O. compressus, and O. mimicus) were referred to as Ophisaurus ventralis. Palmer (1987) described O. mimicus as a distinct species. The subspecies longicaudus was proposed as a distinct species by Collins (1991), who expressed the opinion that any allopatric subspecies that is in some way morphologically distinct should be treated as a distinct species, but most authors maintain longicaudus as a subspecies of O. attenuatus.

Molecular data support recognition of the family Anniellidae and anguid subfamilies Gerrhonotinae and Anguinae as monophyletic groups (Macey et al. 1999). Within the Anguinae, Ophisaurus apparently is not monophyletic; among various taxonomic alternatives available to remedy the situation, Macey et al. (1999) favoured placing all members of the subfamily in a single genus (Anguis).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of the extensive geographic distribution and many relatively stable populations. Historically, regional declines occurred as a result of agricultural development, but currently the overall extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance are probably relatively stable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the United States. The eastern segment of the range (subspecies longicaudus) encompasses the southeastern United States, from Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast and southern Florida, east of the Mississippi River; the western part of the range (subspecies attentuatus) extends from southeastern Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana south to the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, west of the Mississippi River in the south (Conant and Collins 1991).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This lizard is represented by a large number of populations, and it is locally common in many areas. Its area of occupancy and abundance have probably declined, but the species remains widespread.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitats include open grassland, prairie, woodland edge, open woodland, oak savannas, longleaf pine flatwoods, scrubby areas, fallow fields, and areas near streams and ponds, often in habitats with sandy soil. This species often appears on roads in spring. During inactivity, it occurs in underground burrows. In Kansas, slender glass lizards were scarce in heavily grazed pastures, increased as grass increased with removal of grazing, and declined as brush and trees replaced grass (Fitch 1989). Eggs are laid underground, under cover, or under grass clumps (Ashton and Ashton 1985); in cavities beneath flat rocks or in abandoned tunnels of small mammals (Scalopus, Microtus) (Fitch 1989).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Conversion of habitat to human uses, especially intensive agriculture, is probably the major threat, but the species is reasonably secure throughout most of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in many protected areas.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Ophisaurus attenuatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63716A12709295. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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