Scientists today claimed to have discovered a new species of lizard - with no legs.
The mottled-brown reptile is nearly identical to a snake - complete with a full coating of scales, pointed nose and sharp fangs.
But unlike snakes, Bachia Oxyrhinas - like the slowworm - are unable to dislocate their jaws to eat oversized prey, have external ear openings, and boast tiny eyelids.
On closer inspection, the creatures also have a number of tiny, inactive 'legs', which experts say are a 'leftover' by-product of evolution.
Zoologists say the 14-inch lizards, which were discovered in a remote region of Brazil, South America, are an official new species.
Expedition leader Miguel Trefaut Rodrigues, from the University of Sao Paulo, said the lizard was found in the sandy plains of Jalapao near Cerrado.
He said: ‘These recent additions to the list of lizards that live in the Cerrado show us that we are still far from knowing the biodiversity of this ecosystem in order to conserve it properly.
‘This is a serious problem considering the rapid expansion of agriculture in this region.’ Mr Rodrigues, a leading Brazilian zoologist, said Bachia Oxyrhinas live in sandy areas where its mottled skin acts as perfect camouflage.
The carnivorous lizards use their pointed noses to rummage in the sand, sucking up bugs, ants and termites.
They are similar to other legless lizards such as the slow worm, the sandplain worm lizard, and the javelin lizard.
The Bachia was the third lizard in the last year to be discovered in the Cerrado region of Brazil - a vast savannah known for its enormous range of plant and animal diversity.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, it is biologically the richest savanna in the world.
It is home to 25 per cent of the 1,300 known species of vertebrates to be discovered in Brazil over the past 20 years.
But like the Amazon, the region is threatened by deforestation and farming.
Scientists say the Cerrado - meaning 'closed' in Portuguese - is so remote that other species like the Bachia could still be undiscovered.
Ricardo Machado, the director of Conservation Brazil, said: ‘Because there are few studies about the biodiversity of this region, the high number of findings reveals that the Cerrado presents great potential for the discovery of new species.’
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