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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Reptilia (lizards, snakes, tortoises, terrapins, turtles, crocodiles, birds and extinct relatives)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota




# non-chelonians

Include: Mesosauridae, Millerettidae, Acleistorhinus, Lanthanosuchidae, Macroleter, Nyctiphruretia, Pareiasauria, Procolophonoidea


Chelonia (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)




# 'non-diapsids'

Include: Captorhinidae and Protorothyrididae


Diapsida (lizards, snakes, crocodiles, dinosaurs, birds, and relatives)





Include: Saurosternon, Paliguana




Squamata (lizards and snakes)


Infraclass: Rhynchocephalia (tuataras and extinct relatives)

Tuataras used to be widespread in New Zealand but are now limited to a few islands off the coast of New Zealand. There was thought to be only one species on these islands but genetic analysis has revealed two: Sphenodon punctatus and Sphenodon guentheri. Tuataras were abundant over 200 million years ago and these two species are all that remain. They look like lizards but the structure of their skull is different and their teeth are not separate structures but serrations along the edges of the upper and lower jaws.  




# basal Archosauromorpha

The taxa at the base of the  archosauromorph tree that do not include Archosauriformes include the species Mesosuchus browni and Prolacerta broomi both of which are known from fossils recovered in South Africa.


Archosauriformes (dinosaurs, birds, crocodiles and their extinct relatives)

The Archosauriformes includes the Archosauria (dinosaurs, birds, crocodiles and extinct relatives) as well as some more basal fossil taxa such as Proterosuchus, Erythrosuchus and Euparkeria, which are known from fossils collected in South Africa.



Ecological interactions

  • Baker, M. R. 1987. Synopsis of the Nematoda parasitic in amphibians and reptiles. Memorial University of Newfoundland, Occasional Papers in Biology 11:1325.

  • Bursey, C. R. and S. R. Goldberg. 2007. A new species of Parapharyngodon (Nematoda: Pharyngodonidae) and other helminths in Typhlosaurus lineatus (Squamata: Scincidae) from southern Africa. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 74:143147.

  • Bursey, C. R., C. T. McAllister, and P. S. Freed. 1997. Spauligodon petersi sp. n. and Spauligodon smithi sp. n. from lizards of Cape Province, South Africa. Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington 64:234239

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2001. Intestinal helminths of four species of skinks (Mabuya) (Sauria; Scincidae) from southern Africa. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 68:143147.

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2002. Helminths of seven species of lacertid lizards from southern Africa. African Zoology 37:159164.

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2004. Helminths of four species of African lizards. African Zoology 39:111114.

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2005a. Trachylepis spilogaster (Kalahari tree skink). Endoparasites. Herpetological Review 36:184185.

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2005b. Helminths of the ground agama, Agama aculeata (Sauria: Agamidae), from South Africa. African Zoology 40:158159.

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2007. Psammophis leightoni trinasalis (Fork-marked sand snake) and Psammophis notostictus (Karoo sand racer). Endoparasites. Herpetological Review 38:341342.

  • Goldberg, S. R. and C. R. Bursey. 2009. Adolphus jacksoni Jackson's forest lizard, Endoparasites. African Herp News 48:1617.

  • Goldberg, S.R. & Bursey, C.R. 2010. Helminths from eight species of African skinks (Trachylepis: Scincidae). Comparative Parasitology 77(2): 236-241.  doi: 10.1654/4436.1

  • Hering-Hagenbeck, S. F. B. N. and J. Boomker. 1998. Spauligodon timbavatiensis n. np. (Nematoda: Pharyngodonidae) from Pachydactylus laevigatus turneri (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in the northern Province, Republic of South Africa. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 65:153158.

  • Hering-Hagenbeck, S. F. B. N., J. Boomker, and O. Bain. 2001. Paraspirura bettinae n. sp. from a South African skink with comments on spirurid nematodes from saurians and mammals. Journal of Parasitology 87:838844.

  • Hering-Hagenbeck, S. F. B. N., A. J. Petter, and J. Boomker. 2002. Redescription of some Spauligodon spp. and Parapharyngodon spp. and of Skrjabinodon mabuyae (Sandground, 1936) Inglis, 1968 (Pharyngodonidae: Oxyuroidea) from insectivorous South African lizards. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 69:729.

  • Malan, J. R. 1939. Some helminths of South African lizards. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Science and Animal Industry 12:2174.