Lizards typically have rounded torsos, elevated heads on short necks, four limbs and long tails, although some are legless. Lizards and snakes share a movable quadrate bone, distinguishing them from the rhynchocephalians, which have more rigid diapsid skulls. Some lizards such as chameleons have prehensile tails, assisting them in climbing among vegetation.

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Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with over 7,000 species ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains.

The group is paraphyletic since it excludes the snakes and Amphisbaenia although
some lizards are more closely related to these two excluded groups than they are to other lizards.

Lizards range in size from chameleons and geckos a few centimeters long to the 3-meter-long Komodo dragon.

Most lizards are quadrupedal, running with a strong side-to-side motion. Some lineages (known as "legless lizards"), have secondarily lost their legs, and have long snake-like bodies. Some such as the forest-dwelling Draco lizards are able to glide. They are often territorial, the males fighting off other males and signalling, often with brightly colours, to attract mates and to intimidate rivals. Lizards are mainly carnivorous, often being sit-and-wait predators; many smaller species eat insects, while the Komodo eats mammals as big as water buffalo. The dentitions of lizards reflect their wide range of diets, including carnivorous, insectivorous, omnivorous, herbivorous, nectivorous, and molluscivorous. Species typically have uniform teeth suited to their diet, but several species have variable teeth, such as cutting teeth in the front of the jaws and crushing teeth in the rear. Most species are pleurodont, though agamids and chameleons are acrodont. The tongue can be extended outside the mouth, and is often long. In the beaded lizards, whiptails and monitor lizards, the tongue is forked and used mainly or exclusively to sense the environment, continually flicking out to sample the environment, and back to transfer molecules to the vomeronasal organ responsible for chemosensation, analogous to but different from smell or taste. In geckos, the tongue is used to lick the eyes clean: they have no eyelids. Chameleons have very long sticky tongues which can be extended rapidly to catch their insect prey.[6] Three lineages, the geckos, anoles, and chameleons, have modified the scales under their toes to form adhesive pads, highly prominent in the first two groups. The pads are composed of millions of tiny setae (hair-like structures) which fit closely to the substrate to adhere using van der Waals forces; no liquid adhesive is needed.[9] In addition, the toes of chameleons are divided into two opposed groups on each foot (zygodactyly), enabling them to perch on branches as birds do.