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Lerista bougainvilii

Lerista is a diverse (~ 90 species) genus of skinks endemic to Australia, commonly known as sliders.[1] The genus is especially notable for the variation in the amount of limb reduction.[2][3] The variation ranges from short-bodied forms with large legs bearing five toes, to elongate forms completely lacking legs. The body length of the lizards is 33–103 millimetres (1.3–4.1 in). Their locomotion is linked to their body shape. The shorter skinks with prominent limbs travel on the surface; the longer skinks with reduced legs tend to burrow more. A phylogenetic tree of Lerista, derived from DNA analysis, reveals that limb loss has happened multiple times within this group.[4][5] Limb loss has occurred relatively recently, in the past 3.6 million years or so.

Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Lerista
Bell, 1833

See text



The following species are recognized as being valid.[6]

Note: a binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Lerista.


  1. ^ Vanderduys, Eric (7 March 2013). "Australian endangered species: Retro Slider". The Conversation: Latest Ideas and Research.
  2. ^ Greer, Allen E. (1990). "Limb reduction in the scincid lizard genus Lerista. 2. Variation in the bone complements of the front and rear limbs and the number of postsacral vertebrae". Journal of Herpetology. 24 (2): 142–150. JSTOR 1564221.
  3. ^ Greer, Allen E. (1991). "Limb reduction in squamates: identification of the lineages and discussion of the trends". Journal of Herpetology. 25 (2): 166–173. JSTOR 1564644.
  4. ^ Skinner, Adam; Lee, Michael S. Y. (2009). "Body form evolution in the scincid lizard clade Lerista and the mode of macroevolutionary transitions". Evolutionary Biology. 36 (3): 292–300. doi:10.1007/s11692-009-9064-9.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Skinner, Adam; Lee, Michael S. Y.; Hutchinson, Mark N. (2008). "Rapid and repeated limb loss in a clade of scincid lizards". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 8: 310. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-310. PMC 2596130. PMID 19014443.
  6. ^ "Lerista ". The Reptile Database.

Further readingEdit

  • Bell, Thomas (1833). "Characters of two New Genera of Reptiles". Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1833 (1): 98-99. (Lerista, new genus, p. 99).

External linksEdit