SLENDER GLASS LIZARD
Ophisaurus attenuatus Cope 1880
ō-fĭ-săr-ŭs — ăt-tĕn-ū-ā-tŭs


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S5 - Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

An adult Slender Glass Lizard from Comanche County. © Maci Loughrea.
An adult Slender Glass Lizard from Kiowa County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
This is the longest lizard in Kansas. No other limbless reptile in Kansas has eyelids or external ear openings. They are gray to coppery brown with two dark brown stripes running from the neck to the tip of the tail, which are bordered by narrower cream-colored stripes. Older individuals lose the stripes and developed a black and white spotted pattern (especially along the sides) and occasionally light bars across the back. The belly is cream colored.
Adults normally 560-900 mm (22-36 inches) in TL; largest specimen from Kansas: male (KU 207280) from Douglas County with SVL of 240 mm and TL of 762 mm (30 inches) collected by Lance Good and John Kitterman on 13 May 1987; maximum length throughout range: 46½ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
This species is found throughout the eastern two-thirds of Kansas. However, it is rare or absent from Drift Hills, Loess Hills, Arkansas River Sand Prairie, and eastern Smoky Hills.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 406
    Records 
  • 328
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 78
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (5); Anderson (16); Barber (23); Barton (2); Bourbon (8); Butler (4); Chase (2); Chautauqua (2); Coffey (1); Comanche (6); Cowley (12); Crawford (9); Douglas (71); Elk (4); Ellis (44); Ellsworth (2); Franklin (19); Geary (5); Graham (1); Greenwood (7); Harvey (1); Jackson (1); Jefferson (5); Johnson (4); Kiowa (5); Labette (4); Leavenworth (5); Linn (3); Lyon (1); Marshall (2); McPherson (2); Miami (4); Mitchell (1); Montgomery (3); Neosho (5); Osage (2); Osborne (6); Phillips (1); Pottawatomie (1); Pratt (1); Reno (2); Rice (4); Riley (16); Rooks (6); Russell (47); Saline (1); Shawnee (7); Smith (1); Sumner (3); Trego (2); Unknown (6); Wabaunsee (3); Washington (1); Wilson (5); Woodson (1); Wyandotte (1);

Natural History:
Only the first one-third of this lizard is its body, the rest is tail. Called the ‘glass lizard’ because the tail will dismember easily and continue to writhe after coming off, confusing any predator that has ended up with this part of the animal. Diurnal, they eat invertebrates and small lizards. Hartman (1906) reported a specimen from Douglas County that contained three large grasshoppers, one cricket, and one large caterpillar.
Birds and mammals are their main predators.


Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Observation Type: (of recorded types)
Remarks:
First reported in Kansas by Hallowell (1856). The earliest existing specimen is from 1903(KU 509).
The species is most observably abundant along the Saline River valley in Ellis and Russell counties where Taggart (1992) observed 117 individuals over a three-year period. Interestingly, they are conspicuously absent from the Smoky Hill River valley in the same counties.
Densities of this species in northeastern Kansas are estimated to be between 26 and 41 individuals per acre (Fitch, 1989).
Further effort is required to determine if the distributional hiatus between the northern Flint Hills populations and the mid-Smoky Hills populations is due to a paucity of collection effort.

Bibliography:
1857 Hallowell, Edward. Note on the collection of reptiles from the neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, recently presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Dr. A. Heerman. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():306-310
1857 Hallowell, Edward. Notice of a collection of reptiles from Kansas and Nebraska presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences, by Doctor Hammond, U. S. A. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():238-253
1875 Cope, Edward D. Check-list of North American Batrachia and Reptilia; with a systematic list of the higher groups, and an essay on geographical distribution. Based on the specimens contained in the U.S. National Museum. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 1():1-104
1882 Shufeldt, Robert W. Remarks upon the osteology of Opheosaurus ventralis. Proceedings of the United States National Museum ():392-400
1882 Yarrow, Henry C. Check list of North American Reptilia and Batrachia with catalogue of specimens in U. S. National Museum. Bulletin of the United States National Museum (24):1-249
1886 Ebbutt, Percy G. Emigrant Life in Kansas Swan Sonnenschein and Company, Paternoster Square, London. 237pp.
1900 Cope, Edward D. The crocodilians, lizards and snakes of North America. Pages 153-1270 in Report of the U. S. National Museum for the Year Ending June 30, 1898 , Washington, D. C. pp.
1906 Hartman, Frank A. Food habits of Kansas lizards and batrachians. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20():225-229
1911 Hurter, Julius. Herpetology of Missouri. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 20(5):59-274
1920 Taylor, Edward H. The Lizards of Kansas with Notes on Habits. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 117pp.
1928 Burt, Charles E. Insect food of Kansas lizards with notes on feeding habits. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 1(3):50-68
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1934 Brennan, Lawrence A. A check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():189-191
1934 Burt, Charles E. and W. L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1935 Brennan, Lawrence A. Notes on the Distribution of Amphibia and Reptilia of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 114pp.
1935 Burt, Charles E. and William L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1940 Taylor, Edward H. Palatal sesamoid bones and palatal teeth in Cnemidophorus, with notes on these teeth in other saurian genera. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 53():119-124
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1954 Stains, Howard J. A westward extension of the known geographic range of the Glass Lizard, Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus Baird, in south-central Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 57(4):482
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1962 Gish, Charles D. The Herpetofauna of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 34pp.
1965 Clarke, Robert F. Lizards in Kansas. Kansas School Naturalist 11(4):1-16
1970 Fitch, Henry S. Reproductive cycles in lizards and snakes. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (52):1-247
1971 Holman, J. Alan. Ophisaurus attenuatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (111):1-3
1971 Holman, J. Alan. Ophisaurus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (110):1-3
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1974 Pisani, George R. Herpetology in the KU Division of Biological Sciences. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (4):3-4
1975 Capron, Marty. A trip through the Kansas Flint Hills. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (8):4-5
1975 Holman, J. Alan. Herpetofauna of the WaKeeney local fauna (Lower Pliocene: Clarendionian) of Trego County, Kansas. Papers on Paleontology, University of Michigan 1974(12):49-66
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1978 Curl, Richard L. Final Environmental Statement: Milford Lake Kansas operation and maintenance. US Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District. 158pp.
1978 Fitch, Henry S. and E. Raymond Hall. A 20year record of succession on reseeded fields of tallgrass prairie on the Rockefeller Experimental Tract. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication (4):1-15
1978 Skie, Shelley and Martha Bickford. KHS takes to the field in July at Winfield. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (26):42798
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1982 Fitch, Henry S. Resources of a snake community in prairie-woodland habitat of northeastern Kansas. Pages 83-97 in Herpetological communities: A symposium of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles and the Herpetologists League, August 1977.  Wildlife Research Reports 12. 239 pp. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D. C. pp.
1983 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1982 . Technical Publication of the State Biological Survey of Kansas 13():9-21
1983 Miller, Larry L. Bourbon County field trip well attended and successful. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (54):6-7
1984 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1984. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (58):14-20
1984 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1983. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (56):15-26
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1986. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (66):9-16
1987 Simmons, John E. September 1987 field trip report. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (69):42894
1988 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1987. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):13-19
1989 Collins, Joseph T. First Kansas herp counts held in 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (77):11-
1989 Fitch, Henry S. A field study of the Slender Glass Lizard, Ophisaurus attenuatus, in northeastern Kansas. Occasional Papers of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History (125):1-50
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Results of second Kansas herp count held during April-May 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):10-12
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
1991 Collins, Joseph T. Results of third Kansas herp count held during April-May 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (85):9-13
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1991 Fitch, Henry S. Reptiles and amphibians of the Kansas ecological reserves. Pages 71-74 in Multidisciplinary Guidebook 4. Kansas Academy of Science, Lawrence. pp.
1991 Taggart, Travis W. Geographic distribution: Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus. Herpetological Review 22():66
1992 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (87):12-17
1992 Collins, Joseph T. Results of the fourth Kansas herp count held during April-May 1992. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (89):10-
1992 Taggart, Travis W. KHS field trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):3
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the fifth Kansas herp count held during April-June 1993 . Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (94):7-11
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Additions and corrections [to the results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994]. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):4
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
1995 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):24-47
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the seventh annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (101):11-17
1996 Miller, Larry L. Many amphibian and reptile species identified during KHS 1996 fall field trip to Wabaunsee County. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (106):2-3
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eighth annual KHS herp counts Held 1 April-31 May 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (104):6-17
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. KHS Spring Field Trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (108):3
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the ninth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1997. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (108):12-17
1998 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1997. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (111):12-14
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1998 Platt, Dwight R. Monitoring population trends of snakes and lizards in Harvey County, Kansas. Final Report. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 42pp.
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. KDWP herp sting so far nets nine on Kansas and Federal charges. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):5-6
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the tenth annual KHS herp counts for 1998, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):11-18
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
2000 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eleventh and twelfth annual KHS herpetofaunal counts for 1999-2000, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):11-16
2000 Taggart, Travis W. Biogeographic analysis of the reptiles (Squamata) in Ellis County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (121):7-16
2000 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2000 fall field trip. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):6-8
2001 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the thirteenth annual KHS herp counts for 2001, held 1 April-30 June. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):13-16
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2002 Miller, Larry L. Sumner County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2002 Riedle, J. Daren and A. Hynek. Amphibian and reptile inventory of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Labette County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (2):18-20
2003 Lokke, John L. and Jill Lokke. Cowley County herp count 2. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):8
2003 Platt, Dwight R. Lizards and snakes (Order Squamata) of Harvey County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):13-20
2003 Suleiman, G. Fort Riley herpetofaunal count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (5):11-12
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2003 KHS spring field trip to Wilson County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):2-5
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2003 fall field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (8):14-15
2003 Volkmann, Al. Cowley County herp count 1. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):7
2004 Schmidt, Curtis J. Geographic distribution: Ophisaurus attenuatus. Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):13
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Geographic distribution. Ophisaurus attenuatus. Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):13
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2004 fall feld trip . Journal of Kansas Herpetology (12):15-16
2005 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2005 fall field trip [to Crawford County]. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (16):19-21
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2010 Murrow, Daniel G. Kansas Herpetological Society spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (33):2-3
2011 Houck, Mike. Fort Riley Herpetofaunal Survey for 2011. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (39):9
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS Spring Field Trip to Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38):2-4
2012 Hamilton, Bryan Tyler, Rachel Hart , and Jack W. Sites Jr. Feeding Ecology of the Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum, Colubridae) in the Western United States. Journal of Herpetology 46(4):515-522
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Sinclair, Tom A four-day spring snake count across northern Kansas. Collinsorum 2(1/2):9
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Fall Field Trip to Butler County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):6
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Summer Field Trip to Coldwater Lake, Comanche County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):5
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Fall Field Trip to Woodson County. Collinsorum 3(2-4):12
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Spring Field Trip to Barber County Collinsorum 3(2-4):11
2015 Mike Houck. 2015 Fort Riley Herpetofaunal Count final report. Collinsorum 4(1):10-11
2015 Taggart, Travis W. Spring Field Trip to the Greenhorn Limestone of Russell County. Collinsorum 4(3):2
2016 Pittman, Galen L., Henry S. Fitch, and W. Dean Kettle Vertebrate animals on the Fitch Natural History Reservation (1948-2002) Kansas Biological Survey Report Number 188, Lawrence. 48pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2016 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS ‘Fall’ field trip to Barber County. Collinsorum 5(2-3):6-7
2016 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS Summer field trip to Caney River, Chautauqua County, Kansas. Collinsorum 5(2-3):4-5
2017 Mardis, Dexter R. Results from three Herpetofaunal tallies at Wichita State University’s Youngmeyer Ranch in Northwestern Elk County. Collinsorum 6(1):8-10
2017 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2017 KHS Spring Field Trip to Elk County, Kansas. Collinsorum 6(2-3):6-8
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2018 Houck, Mike. Herp Count: Fort Riley Military Installation Collinsorum 7(1):17
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
Account Last Updated:
7/5/2018 9:59:37 AM