The gymnophthalmids are small terrestrial lizards. Most species have fully developed limbs, with the exception of two genera, Bachia and Calyptommatus, that have limbs reduced or absent, respectively. Dorsal scalation is variable; many species have small dorsal scales. Strongly keeled dorsal scales characterize the genus Arthrosaura. Gymnophthalmids have ventral scales larger than dorsal scales that can be either smooth or keeled. There are no osteoderms dorsally or ventrally. Tail length varies, and each tail vertebra has a fracture plane that allows the tail to be easily broken. Gymnophthalmids have good visual and olfactory systems. They have well-formed eyes and eyelids.
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