This family of amphisbaenia is monotypic and represented by only one living species
the Florida Worm Lizard (Rhineura floridana)
Identification: 7-11 in. (18-28 cm), record 16 in. (40.6 cm).A pinkish cylindrical body with annulations of scales encircling the entire body behind the head provides an appearance of segments on an earthworm for which it is often confused. The head lacks ear openings and external eyes. Instead, the eyes are vestigial and appear as dark spots beneath the skin. The snout is wedge-like and sits above a countersunk jaw. No appendages or limbs are present. The tail is flat, short and covered with tubercles.
Range: Extreme southern Georgia, the Florida panhandle to north central Florida.
Habitat: Found in dry upland hammocks, sand pine and long leaf pine turkey oak forest with sandy soil.
Remarks: This species lives underground and is an obligate burrower. Specimens occasionally come above the surface after heavy rains inundate their relatively shallow tunnels. Gardening practices such as plowing also bring them to the surface. Prey consist of soft bodied invertebrates including termites, various insect larvae and spiders. Females lay 1-3 oblong eggs during late summer.
Family RHINEURIDAE The Florida Worm Lizard
The Florida worm lizard (Rhineura floridana) the the only living amphisbaenid found in the United States . Photography by Bill Love.
A lateral view of the wedge-like head
The tubercule covered tail