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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Cladus: Unidentata Episquamata

Subordo: Lacertoidea
Superfamilia: Gymnophthalmoidea

Familia: Gymnophthalmidae
Subfamiliae (4): CercosaurinaeGymnophthalminaeRhachisaurinaeRiolaminae


Gymnophthalmidae Fitzinger, 1826: 11, 26

Type genus: Gymnophthalmus Merrem, 1820, by subsequent designation.

Gymnophthalmoidea Fitzinger, 1826: 11, 26 [original combination, as family but with incorrect spelling]
Gymnophthalmidae — Gray, 1839: 334 [spelling correction]

Primary references

Fitzinger, L.J. 1826. Neue classification der reptilien nach ihren natürlichen verwandtschaften : nebst einer verwandtschafts-tafel und einem verzeichnisse der reptilien-sammlung des K. K. zoologischen museum’s zu Wien. J. G. Heubner: Wien. 66 pp. BHL
Gray, J.E. 1839. Catalogue of the slender-tongued saurians, with description of many new genera and species. Annals of Natural History 2(11): 331–337. DOI: 10.1080/00222933909512395 BHL

Additional references

Pellegrino, K.C.M., Rodrigues, M.T., Yonenaga-Yassuda, Y. & Sites Jr., J.W. 2001. A molecular perspective on the evolution of South American microteiid lizards (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae), and a new classification for the family. Biological journal of the Linnean Society 74(3): 315–338. DOI: 10.1006/bijl.2001.0580 Reference page.
Rodrigues, M.T., Cassimiro, J., Pavan, D., Curcio, F.F., Verdade, V.K. & Pellegrino, K.C.M. 2009. A new genus of microteiid lizard from the Caparaó Mountains, southeastern Brazil, with a discussion of relationships among Gymnophthalminae (Squamata). American Museum Novitates 3673: 1–27. hdl: 2246/6031 Open access Reference page.
Pyron, R.A., Burbrink, F.T. & Wiens, J.J. 2013. A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology 13: 93. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-13-93 Open access Reference page.
Colli, G.R., Hoogmoed, M.S., Cannatella, D.C., Cassimiro, J., Gomes, J.O., Ghellere, J.M., Nunes, P.M.S., Pellegrino, K.C.M., Salerno, P.E., Souza, S.M. & Rodrigues, M.T. 2015. Description and phylogenetic relationships of a new genus and two new species of lizards from Brazilian Amazonia, with nomenclatural comments on the taxonomy of Gymnophthalmidae (Reptilia: Squamata). Zootaxa 4000(4): 401–427. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4000.4.1 Preview (PDF). Reference page.
Kok, P.J.R. 2015. A new species of the Pantepui endemic genus Riolama (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) from the summit of Murisipán-tepui, with the erection of a new gymnophthalmid subfamily. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 174(3): 500–518. DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12241 Open access Reference page.
Costa, H.C., Garcia, P.C.A. & Zaher, H. 2016. The correct authorship and date of lizard names Teiinae, Tupinambinae, and Gymnophthalmidae. Zootaxa 4132(2): 295–300. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4132.2.13. Reference page.
Goicoechea, N., Frost, D.R., De la Riva, I.J., Pellegrino, K.C.M., Sites Jr., J.W., Rodrigues, M.T. & Padial, J.M. 2016. Molecular systematics of teioid lizards (Teioidea/Gymnophthalmoidea: Squamata) based on the analysis of 48 loci under tree-alignment and similarity-alignment. Cladistics 32(6): 624–671. DOI: 10.1111/cla.12150 Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2023. Gymnophthalmidae. The Reptile Database.

Vernacular names
English: Spectacled Lizards
español: Lagartijas de anteojos

Gymnophthalmidae is a family of lizards with at least 250 species, sometimes known commonly as spectacled lizards or microteiids. They are called "spectacled" because of their transparent lower eyelids, which allow them to still see with closed eyes. As in most lizards, except geckos, these eyelids are movable. The Alopoglossidae have been recently moved from this family.
Description and ecology

Spectacled lizards are related to the Teiidae, but they look like skinks (slightly more distant relatives) with smooth scales. They are generally small lizards; many species have reduced limbs. Unusually among lizards, however, it is generally the hind limbs that are reduced or absent, rather than the forelimbs.[1]

Gymnophthalmids live in a wide variety of habitats, from desert to mountain to rain forest, throughout Central America and South America. They are usually inhabitants of the forest floor or wet areas associated with tropical forests, either nocturnal or intermittently active throughout the day. Spectacled lizards eat mostly insects and other invertebrates, and all species lay eggs. Often they can be found under logs, rocks, or other debris or foraging for small invertebrate prey. Some species are able to dive to escape.[1]

Acratosaura (2 species)
Adercosaurus (monotypic)
Alexandresaurus (monotypic)
Amapasaurus (monotypic)
Anadia (20 species)
Andinosaura (11 species)
Anotosaura (2 species)
Arthrosaura (7 species)
Bachia (31 species)
Calyptommatus (5 species)
Caparaonia (monotypic)
Centrosaura (monotypic)
Cercosaura (18 species)
Colobodactylus (2 species)
Colobosaura (2 species)
Colobosauroides (2 species)
Dendrosauridion (monotypic)
Dryadosaura (monotypic)
Echinosaura (8 species)
Ecpleopus (monotypic)
Euspondylus (10 species)
Gelanesaurus (2 species)
Gymnophthalmus (8 species)
Heterodactylus (3 species)
Iphisa (monotypic)
Kaieteurosaurus (monotypic)
Kataphraktosaurus (monotypic)
Leposoma (6 species)
Loxopholis (11 species)[2]
Macropholidus (4 species)
Magdalenasaura (2 species)
Marinussaurus (monotypic)
Micrablepharus (2 species)
Neusticurus (7 species)
Nothobachia (monotypic)
Oreosaurus (7 species)
Pantepuisaurus (monotypic)
Petracola (5 species)
Pholidobolus (13 species)
Placosoma (4 species)
Potamites (7 species)
Procellosaurinus (2 species)
Proctoporus (21 species)
Psilops (3 species)
Rhachisaurus (monotypic)
Rheosaurus (monotypic)
Riama (15 species)
Riolama (6 species)
Rondonops (2 species)
Scriptosaura (monotypic)
Selvasaura (3 species)
Stenolepis (monotypic)
Tretioscincus (3 species)
Vanzosaura (3 species)
Wilsonosaura (monotypic)
Yanomamia (2 species)


Bauer (1998).

Genus Loxopholis at The Reptile Database.


Bauer, Aaron M. (1998). "[Gymnophthalmidae]". p. 171. In: Cogger, Harold G.; Zweifel, Richard G. (editors) (1998). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
Goin, Coleman J.; Goin, Olive B.; Zug, George R. (1978). Introduction to Herpetology, Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company:xi + 378 pp. ISBN 0-7167-0020-4. ("Subfamily Gymnophthalminae", p. 305).

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