Mexican Mole Lizard
The mexican mole lizard is a truly bizarre animal that belongs to the Amphisbaenia suborder. Scientifically described as Bipes biporus, it is also commonly known as:
- The five-toed worm lizard
- Ajolote (Spanish)
As you can see on the image below, this strange animal looks like a crazy lizard, snake,earthworm hybrid. The species occurs exclusively in the Baja California peninsula of Mexico. Its habitat ranges from extreme southwestern Baja California State through western Baja California Sur, to the Isthmus of La Paz and the western Cape Region.
Like all other amphisbaenians, it only surfaces at night or after heavy rain. The axolotl spends most of its life in self-constructed tunnels that are usually close to the surface.
The animal is listed by the IUCN as of "Least Concern", meaning that its populations are healthy, steady and under no immediate threat.
These lizard-like reptiles have a pink coloration and a solely segmented skin that gives a corrugated appearance, much like earthworms. They have a snout-to-vent length of 18 to 24 cm (7.1–9.4 in) and are 6 to 7 mm (0.24–0.28 in) in width. They have a blunt head and a short and autotomic taill.
Their most distinctive characteristic is their front, small and well-developed limbs, which have five digits. The legs are used both for walking and digging in the ground. You can have a better look of them at the attached video below. The animal in the video is not a Bipes biporus but the closely related Bipes canaliculatus. The two of them are pretty much the same so you will still get a good idea of how the legs are used. (Note: I have also attached a 45-mins documentary at the end of the article. I highly suggest you to watch it if you want to know more about the species.)
Their hindlegs have disappeared over the course of time, appearing only as vestigial bones, visible only with the help of X-rays.
Like most lizards, they have the ability to drop their tail off to escape predators. However, once lost, their tail will not regenerate.
The species exhibits no external sexual dimorphism which means that males and females look pretty much the same.
These little critters have an average life span of 1-2 years and they spend most of their time inside the tunnels they dig with the help of their hands.
The axolotl is an opportunist carnivore that consumes ants, termites, ground-dwelling insects, larvae, earthworms, and other smaller than itself animals, including lizards.
They are oviparous (egg-laying) animals. Females lay one to four eggs in July. They only breed underground and it takes about two months for the eggs to hatch.
Other interesting facts about the mexican mole lizard
1) The mexican mole lizard should not be confused with the species Ambystoma mexicanum, a salamander that comes by with the same common name (axolotl or ajolote).
2) According to an old study, the ratio of adult females to adult males appears to be two to one. Some proposed reasons include differential mortality, sampling bias, or a skewed primary sex ratio.
3) The other three species of the Bipes genus are:
- Bipes alvarezi
- Bipes canaliculatus
- Bipes tridactylus
That's about every piece of information that would interest an average reader. I hope you enjoyed reading about this truly beautiful animal. If you did, you may also want to use the links below to check some other strange and bizarre animals:
If you have the time, you may also want to check the 45 min documentary on mexican mole lizards attached down below.
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