The Striped Legless Lizard differs most obviously from a snake in having external ear openings, small scaly flaps for hind limbs, a long tail and a broad, undivided tongue. It is pale grey-brown above, with a darker head, and almost white below. The most distinguishing characteristic is a pattern of light and dark parallel lines running along the length of the body, although these may be very pale or even absent in some individuals. This parallel stripe pattern breaks up into a diagonal pattern on the tail. They grow to about 30 cm in length, with up to three-quarters of this being the tail.
The Striped Legless Lizard occurs in the Southern Tablelands, the South West Slopes and possibly on the Riverina. Populations are known in the Goulburn, Yass, Queanbeyan, Cooma and Tumut areas. Also occurs in the ACT, Victoria and south-eastern South Australia.
Habitat and ecology
- Found mainly in Natural Temperate Grassland but has also been captured in grasslands that have a high exotic component.
- Also found in secondary grassland near Natural Temperate Grassland and occasionally in open Box-Gum Woodland.
- Habitat is where grassland is dominated by perennial, tussock-forming grasses such as Kangaroo Grass Themeda australis, spear-grasses Austrostipa spp. and poa tussocks Poa spp., and occasionally wallaby grasses Austrodanthonia spp.
- Sometimes present in modified grasslands with a significant content of exotic grasses.
- Sometimes found in grasslands with significant amounts of surface rocks, which are used for shelter.
- Actively hunts for spiders, crickets, moth larvae and cockroaches.
- Two papery eggs are laid in early summer.
- Goes below ground or under rocks or logs over winter.