Family Trogonophidae: The Spade-Headed Worm Lizards
The spade-headed worm lizards belong to the family Trogonphidae which is comprised of four genera representing a total of five species. This family of amphisbaenians tunnel through the ground with oscillating movements of the body. Their face resembles a flattened plate just before the eyes and it is the edges of this plate-like surface that is used to scrape away soil at the end of the tunnel so that force generated by the body can force it into the tunnel wall thus allowing tunneling progress. Another interesting feature regarding this family is that they are squarish to triangular in their cross sections. This character seems highly effective for burrowing through the soil conditions of the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa (Gans, 1988).
The family Trogonophidae is represented by the following genera:
Trogonophis wiegmanni. Photography By Bill Love