Lizard Classification

Chinese water dragon (family Agamidae) (© Jakub Hałun, Wikimedia Commons)

Lizard Classification Table

Suborder Infraorder Family Common Name Genera Species
Sauria Iguania Agamidae Water Dragons 53 300
Iguanidae Iguanas 55 650
Chamaeleontidae Chameleons 4 85
Gekkota Gekkonidae Geckos 85 800
Pygopodidae Snake lizards 1 31
Scincomorpha Lacertidae Wall and sand lizards 25 200
Teiidae Tegus, whiptails 39 227
Xantusiidae Desert night lizards 1 16
Scincidae Skinks 85 1275
Cordylidae Girdle-tailed lizards 10 50
Dibamidae Blind lizards 1 4
Anguinomorpha Xenosauridae Crocodile lizards 1 4
Anguidae Anguids 8 75
Helodermatidae Beaded lizard, Gila Monster 1 2
Varanidae Monitors 1 31
Lanthanotidae Borneo earless lizard 1 1





  • Old world or true chameleons
  • Anatomical differences from other lizards may include astonishingly long tongues, ability for colour change, oppositely opposable digits and prehensile tails.
  • Generally viviparous


  • Geckos
  • Large and diverse family which have colonised all tropical areas and extended into temperature regions
  • Primarily nocturnal insectivores
  • Anatomical differences from other lizards may include toe-pads, eyelids that have fused and are transparent as in snakes and eyes that move independently and are usually large
  • When subjected to daylight the pupils contract to a narrow slit with a series of pinholes
  • Generally oviparous with one to two eggs laid but some are viviparous
  • Three subfamilies are Eublepharine (no toe-pads), Sphaerodactylinae and Gekkoninae
  • Includes the commonly kept leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius)


  • Includes snake lizards (Lialis spp.) and the scalyfoot (Pygopus spp.) which are without forelimbs and their hindlimbs are reduced to flaps of skin


  • Wall or sand lizards of the old world
  • Insectivorous
  • All oviparous except the viviparous lizard (Lacerta vivapara)
  • Includes the oscellated green lizard (Lacerta lepida), rock lizard (Lacerta saxicola)


  • New world equivalents of the Lacertidae
  • The smaller are insectivorous and the larger carnivorous
  • Includes the whiptails and racerunners (Cnemidophorus spp.), jungle runners (Ameiva spp.) and tegus (Tupinambis spp.)


  • Desert night lizards
  • Xantusia spp.


  • True skinks
  • Little sexual dimorphism
  • Includes the blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua spp.), prehensile-tailed skink (Corucia zebrata), five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus) and the casqueheads (Tribolonotus spp.)


  • Zonures or girdle-tailed lizards
  • All require very hot, dry conditions
  • Includes Cordylus spp.


  • Blind lizards
  • Dibamus and Anelytropsis spp.


  • Consists of the Chinese crocodile-tailed lizard (Shinisaurus crocodiluris) and the new world xenosaurs (Xenosaurus spp.)


  • Long and snake-like in form
  • In America, Asia, Africa and Europe but species are not numerous
  • Both oviparous and viviparous species, both diurnal and nocturnal species and generally terrestrial
  • Insectivorous or carnivorous
  • Includes slow-worm (Anguis fragilis), alligator lizards (Elgaria spp.), glass lizards (Ophisaurus spp.) legless lizards (Annelia spp.) and the sheltopusik (Ophisaurus apodus)



  • Monitor lizards
  • Mostly large powerful predators or carrion eaters
  • Includes the savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus), Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) and the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)


  • Monotypic family
  • The Bornean earless lizard (Lanthanotus borneensis)