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Animal Themes
Reptiles
Worm Lizards



Worm Lizards
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.42

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    ajolote, annelids, based, translucent, covering, separate, mole, layer, such, lower, powerful, since, become, several, between, upon
     content words:    North America


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Worm Lizards   

1     Worm lizards and earthworms look alike. Both have cylindrical bodies. Both burrow in soil. Upon a close inspection, the differences between these two animals become clear. First, worm lizards have scales covering their bodies. Earthworms do not. Second, worm lizards are vertebrates (animals with backbones). Earthworms are invertebrates (animals without backbones.) Third, worm lizards eat small animals (such as worms, insects, and insect larvae). Earthworms feed on decaying organisms. Based on these features, scientists put worm lizards and earthworms into two separate groups. Worm lizards are reptiles. Earthworms are annelids, or segmented worms.
 
2     There are more than 150 species of worm lizards. None have hind legs, and all but three lack front limbs as well. Since most worm lizards do not have front limbs to help them dig, they use their thick, bony skulls as excavating tools. Regardless of how they shovel, worm lizards have several physical adaptations allowing them to keep out dirt. For example, they have no external ear openings. They have a layer of translucent skin to cover each of their two tiny eyes. Their nostrils point backward. Their powerful lower jaws are recessed. This prevents sand and soil from getting into their mouths.

Paragraphs 3 to 4:
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Animal Themes
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Reptiles
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