Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with more than 5600 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica as well as most oceanic island chains. Lizards typically have feet and external ears, while snakes lack both of these characteristics. However, because they are defined negatively as excluding snakes, lizards have no unique distinguishing characteristic as a group. Lizards and snakes share a movable quadrate bone, distinguishing them from the sphenodonts, which have a more primitive and solid diapsid skull. Many lizards can detach their tails to escape from predators, an act called autotomy, but this ability is not shared by all lizards. Vision, including color vision, is particularly well developed in most lizards, and most communicate with body language or bright colors on their bodies as well as with pheromones.
The adult length of species within the suborder ranges from a few cm for chameleons like Brookesia micra and geckos like Sphaerodactylus ariasae to nearly 3 m (9.8 ft) in the case of the largest living varanid lizard, the Komodo Dragon. Some extinct varanids reached great size. The extinct aquatic mosasaurs reached 17 m (56 ft), and the giant monitor Megalania is estimated to have reached perhaps 7 m (23 ft).