Blunt-tailed West-coast Slider - Lerista praepedita
It’s not a snake, much less a worm, but a skink with limb reduction. Lerista praepedita (Scincidae) is native to the arid west coast of Western Australia. In this species the forelimbs are absent, without any indication of a groove; and the hind limbs are vestigial being reduced to a mere stylar or monodactyl stump.
Limb reduction is a common evolutionary trend, especially in some groups of reptiles. There are species with partly or completely reduced limbs in 10 of 25 lizard families, and this is an adaptation to fossoriality (burrowing) in almost every case. Limb reduction is accompanied by a change in locomotion from tetrapod limb movement to lateral vertebral undulation. Fossorial species live basically within a loose substrate like sand or soil, or beneath leaf litter, rocks and logs. Such a fossorial lifestyle is advantageous for reptiles in many ways. It is harder for predator like kites, foxes, cats and other reptiles to find and capture them.
Recently it has been proposed to include the species in the Soridia genus.
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Photo credit: ©Jordan Vos | Locality: Western Australia (2012)