They have a cylindrical rigid body, covered with generally smooth and polished scales; a short strong tail; a short rounded or pointed head with narrow mouth; teeth few in number; small or rudimentary eyes; no abdominal scutes or only narrow ones.
Their body is generally compressed and slender; their broad ventral scutes are often carinate on the sides.
Their body is covered with small scales and the ventral scutes are mostly narrow; the tail tapering; head flat, rather short; and the eyes of small size.
There are no scales developed on any part of the body, but a series of hard and large scutes protects a greater or lesser portion of the sides.
The development of its scutes and spines varies exceedingly, and specimens may be found without any lateral scutes and with short spines, others with only a few scutes and moderately sized spines, and again others which possess a complete row of scutes from the head to the caudal fin, and in which the fin-spines are twice as long and strong as in other varieties.
The scutes or dermal portions of the scales are more or less ossified, especially on the back, and form the characteristic dermal armour.
The scutes on the neck, six in number, are packed closely together, the four biggest forming a square.
Their body is cylindrical, flexible in every part, covered with smooth or keeled scales, and provided with broad ventral and subcaudal scutes.
In Propalaeohoplophorus the scutes of the carapace, which are less deeply sculptured than in the larger glyptodonts, are arranged in distinct transverse rows, in three of which they partially overlap near the border of the carapace after the fashion of the armadillos.
The head bears a pair of horn-like scutes, and the scutes of the carapace and tail, which are loosely opposed or slightly overlapping, form a number of transverse rows.
In Central and South America alligators are represented by five species of the genus Caiman, which differs from Alligator by the absence of a bony septum between the nostrils, and the ventral armour is composed of overlapping bony scutes, each of which is formed of two parts united by a suture.
A parietal foramen; scales or bony scutes frequently present, especially on the ventral region, which is further protected by three large bony plates - interclavicle and clavicles, the latter in addition to cleithra.
Sometimes these scales assumed the importance of scutes and formed a carapace, as in the "batrachian armadillo" discovered by E.
Some reptiles also have bony scutes that are embedded into the skin.
The form and number of the scales and scutes, and the shape and arrangement of the head-shields, are of great value in distinguishing the genera and species, and it will therefore be useful to explain in the accompanying woodcut (fig.
Similarly imbricated epidermic productions form the covering of the undersurface of the tail of the African flying rodents of the family Anomaluridae; and flat scutes, with the edges in apposition, and not overlaid, clothe both surfaces of the tail of the beaver, rats and certain other members of the rodent order, and also of some insectivora and marsupials.
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