Squamates | Squamata
Squamata is a broad collective order of scaled reptiles. Squamates fall under class reptilia and are commonly distinguished by their skins. They are characterized by horny scales or shields on their skins, body elongation which is a popular modification in squamate’s body plan, having movable quadrate bones with most being carnivores while others omnivores. These animals include snakes, lizards, and amphisbaenian. Squamates are terrestrial or arboreal, with very few being aquatic. They may also have no/reduced limbs while some have four limbs. Squamates can either live in groups or in solitary.
The characteristics that make a Squamata unique include having a scaled skin that distinguishes them as well as having horn-like scales or shields. Other characteristics of squamates include having movable quadrate bones that make it possible for them to move their upper jaw in accordance with the neurocranium.
Squamata are adapted to their environments by regulating their body temperature through their exterior environment, a process known as Ectothermy. When it is cold, they seek warmer environments and when it is hot they will seek out a cool environment. This allows them to go sometimes months without feeding.
There are 60 Squamata families that include more than 10,900 species of squamates. The squamata families include the Amphisbaenidae, Cadeidae, Dibamidae, Gekkonidae, and Sphaerodactylidae families. Other Squamata families include the Chamaeleonidae, Iguanidae, Anguidae, and Elapidae. The families are then categorized into the infraorders of Amphisbaenia, Gekkota, Iguania, Lacertoidea, Anguimorpha, Scincoidea, Alethinophidia, and Scolecophidia.