Insular magic. An informal term that generally refers to how odd insular taxa are compared to their relatives. Whether because the envrionmental restrictions and potentials, or the lack of competition, the islands themselves drive their castaways to become some of the most unqiue vertebrates alive today. Darwin's finches, the flightless kakapo, the giant extinct Nuralagus, the ectothermic Myotragus; these are just some highlights among many, many of such taxa. The Caudaspondyli, are another.

Endemic to volcanic islands off the coast of mainland Europe, the Conni islands have very little in mammal divesity. Instead, birds and reptiles have dominated the archipelago. One of the major small herbivorous groups are the Caudaspondyli, or neckless lizards, thought they've on at least five occasions become carnivorous. With over 400 species, they are one of the most diverse radiation of lacertids, ever. Driven by lack of competition, they continued unfaltered through to the end of Conni fauna, when an extinction event submerged the islands. And even then, some groups live on, hidden in mainland forests. With their unbeleivable biodiversity for such a group, they are perhaps one of the best examples of the versitility of evolution.

The name is derived from cauda, meaning "tail"; and spondylos, meaning "vertebra". This is derived from the ancestral forms that have long tails, having several cervical vertebra pushed back the the dorsals, and several dorsals pushed into the caudal position.




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