May 2, 2008— Great slithering lizard! This legless reptile was recently discovered in central Brazil'sCerrado, a wooded savanna being converted to ranch and cropland at twice the rate of the nearby Amazon. The lizard's lack of legs and sharply pointed snout help it swim within the sandy soils.
The lizard—part of a separate evolutionary line from snakes—is one of 14 species believed new to science discovered on a four-week expedition to a 1.77-million-acre (716,000-hectare) protected area in the Cerrado. The team also found several threatened and rare species.
"We don't know exactly what we're losing," said expedition leader Cristiano Nogueira, a Conservation International biologist.