Their common name comes from the fact that they are easily broken: like many lizards, they have the ability to deter predation by dropping off part of the tail which can break into several pieces, like glass. The tail remains mobile, while the lizard becomes motionless, distracting the predator, and allowing eventual escape. This serious loss of body mass requires a considerable effort to replace, and the new tail is usually smaller in size than the original.
The greatest number of species in the genus are native to Asia, from India to China and the Indonesian islands. At least one species, the Moroccan glass lizard, comes from North Africa, and several species live in the south-eastern United States including the barrier islands off the Atlantic coast of Florida.
See also: Slowworm
glass lizards rule