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Worm Lizard

Worm Lizard
Photo Information
Copyright: Catherine Dijon (CatherineD) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 861 W: 57 N: 4006] (14097)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-04-11
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon EOS 40 D, Canon EF 100 mm F2.8 Macro USM
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Bayram's Favourites-III [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-04-19 9:37
Viewed: 11426
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]
This worm lizard, almost blind and legless, was found in the archaeological site of Priene that I visited with Bayram last week.
The following note is a summary of the note written by Bayram Göçmen that you can find with a photo of this species here.

Blanus strauchi strauchi Bedriaga, 1884
Family: Amphisbaenidae
Common names: Anatolian/Turkish Worm Lizard, Strauch’s Amphisbaenian [En], Kör Kertenkele [Tu], Amphisbène d’Anatolie [Fr], Türkische Ringelwühle [Ge]

Worm lizards are a group of about 160 much specialised snake-like reptiles, belonging to 16 genera that in nearly all cases are completely limbless. But some retain internal vestiges of the pectoral and pelvic girdles. Worm lizards spend most of their time underground and are only occasionally encountered on the surface. The skull is heavy and modified for burrowing and the skin is very loose.
Many elongate reptiles with small limbs or none at all have one lung very reduced in size or absent (like a snake!); usually this is the left one but in Worm lizards it is the right. In general, amphisbaenians show little or no sexual dimorphism in body size. They are also elongate, slender, fossorial reptiles with scales arranged in annular rings. In some species, a small eye is visible under a translucent head scale, but in others the eye is not visible at all.
Amphisbaenids exhibit a huge size range, from tiny worm-like species of 10 cm maximum length to some of the largest known amphisbaenians of more than 80 cm maximum length in some species; most species fall within the range of 25–40 cm. Most species feed on invertebrates, especially ants and termites. The majority lay eggs.

They occur in the west and east Mediterranean area, Arabia, tropical and southern Africa, central and South America and the West Indies. Blanus cinereus (Iberian Worm Lizard - It is distributed in much of Spain and Portugal except the north and also Morocco and Algeria) and B. strauchi (Anatolian/Turkish Worm Lizard - It is distributed mainly in Anatolia including the Aegean islands of Greece and also N. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon) are the only two amphisbaenian occurring in Europe.

Anatolian Worm Lizard is a limbless lizard with a total length up to 19-20 cm. The head covered with symmetrical plates. At first sight, looks like a rather plump earthworm. Head small and pointed with tiny eyes beneath the skin, visible as black spots from the outside. You can see head details including tiny eyes on the workshop.
The body and short tail with a pointed end are covered with square or rectangular shaped soft scales arranged in rings (annuli). The number of these scales around the mid-body is changed between 32-42. There is a longitudinal groove on each flank. The body is often bluish brown or sometimes reddish grey.

In Turkey, Anatolian/Turkish Worm Lizard is known from the southern parts of W Anatolia, S and SE Anatolia and represented with three subspecies:

(a) B. s. strauchi - lives in W Anatolia of Turkey and some of adjacent islands of Greece (such as Rhodos and Kos)
(b) B. s. bedriagae - lives in the vicinities of Kınık (Xanthos) and Fethiye at SW Anatolia.
(c) B. s. aporus - lives in the Mediterranean area of east of Antalya and SE Anatolia. This race is also found in N. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Etymology: The name of “Amphisbaen” come after their muscular ability to move backwards and forwards. [amphi: on both sides, i.e. front and back side + baen (Gr.)]: move].

Budak, A. & Göçmen, B. (2005).
Herpetology. Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 194, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 226 pp. [2nd Edition, 2008].
Alexander, A. A. (1966). Taxonomy and variation of Blanus strauchi (Amphisbaenia, Reptilia). Copeia, 2: 205-224.
Göçmen, B., Disi, A. M. & Yildiz, M. Z. (2008). On the occurrence of Blanus strauchi aporus Werner, 1898 and Chalcides guentheri Boulenger, 1887 in the Mediterranean Ecozone of Syria. Zoology in the Middle East, 43: 69-74.
Grzimek, B., (2003). Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia, Second Edition Volume 7 Reptiles Schlager Group Inc. 571 pp.

Mikolaj, boreocypriensis, xTauruSx, jlinaresp, Ishi, cobra112, sandpiper2, nagraj, rousettus, Silvio2006 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To boreocypriensis: Thanks dear Joyful Professor!CatherineD 2 04-19 12:56
To Mikolaj: Harmless!CatherineD 1 04-19 09:50
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Catherine! Dangerous lizard? Very fine info. Good capture. Very good contrast and sharpness. Superb natural colours. Splendid effect. Well done!

Incredibly stylish presentation here, Catherine! Well done!Very good angle of view and interesting notes too! Congratulations for the impeccable simple composition and quality!
Best Regards,
George Veltchev

hello Catherine
great picture of this Blind wormlizard
great details and beautiful colours
i found also on Lefkada some blind lizard specie
nice to see this one
greeting lou

Haha:) this is realy awesome macro capture of this limbless and blind nature beauty Cathy!

It was very surprise to me that some photographers on TN who found boring my lizard posts can like your post as "Incredibly stylish presentation", even you used the notes writen by me:)
What a contradiction:)
TFS this real beauty MF!

Sulky Professor (as indicated by other GREAT but .... -at least in my view- Member of TN) hahaha...

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me"

Hello Catherine,
Excellent shot from nice top point of view with wonderfıul light and details.
TFS and regards,

Hi Catherine friend!
PLOP! I fall upside down!... what kind of freak is this??
You do charitable work with some animals, making them look beautiful in your photos ... but it is undeniable that some are crappy! ... this poor lizard, "Amphisbaenidae", and without legs, is one of the favored, for your photographic skills!
Equilateral cut ingenious composition, with a position of body of this "worm lizard!" very appropriate. The environment has been fantastic, water, small rocks, very suitable! good job, obviously accompanied by a fantastic note supported in "Sulky Professor" :)

PS: What a shot of tiny eyes in WS!...

TFS, Regards, Jesús

Hola Catherine

Gracias por tu comentario.

Fantastica imagen de este gusano, con tonos marrones de acuerdo con el animal.

Un saludo Antonio

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2010-04-20 1:49]

Thanks, Catherine, for sharing this unusual reptile with us.

Excellent picture!

All the best,


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-04-20 2:49]

Salut Catherine,un trompe l'oeil...ehehe....quelle composition et quelle nettete',une maniere tres differente et etonnante de montrer ce petit lizard.Mes plus gros compliments,bonne journee',Luciano

Ciao Catherine. Great idea this POV to exalt the graphic skyn and very good details. Very well done .


HI Catherine

Great composition of with this most unusual lizard in the centre. Good sharpness and POV. Good note too.


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-04-20 5:53]

I have not seen something like this before, thanks for that. Fine viewpoint to show this entire species well with details. tfs.

merhaba Catherine
Nice to see results of your trip in Turkiye. This is one of them and great macro shot of Anatolian Worm Lizard (Blanus strauchi) with wonderful sharp details. exposure, coloration, POV and composition great. nicely presented. I'd like to see more posts from your travel.
Thanks a lot for sharing, well done.
have a good night-iyi geceler dilerim.

Ciao Catherine, great capture of fantastic strange lizard, splendid sharpness and wonderful details, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

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