Seps (Daud.), a genus of saurian reptiles of the skink family, divided by modern authors into several subgenera. In the group the feet are very short, and have three or four toes, with claws; the apex of the tongue is notched, the eyes lizard-like with transparent lower lid; teeth numerous and conical; body snakelike, and the scales smooth and imbricated; no femoral pores. The four-toed seps (tetra-dactylus Decresiensis, Péron) has the nostrils in the nasal scute, and a conical tail about as long as, and hardly distinct from, the body; the color above is brownish spotted with black, the sides grayish with dark dots, and whitish below; it is about 5 1/2 in. long, the anterior limbs one fourth and the posterior five eighths of an inch; it is found in Australia and the neighboring islands. The three-toed seps (hemiergis Decresiensis, Dum, and Bibr.) is distinguished from the last chiefly by the number of the toes, of which the central is the longest; the color and habitat are the same; the length is about 4 in., the anterior limb 1/4 in., and the posterior about half as long.

The common seps (seps tridactylus, Merr.) has a more elongated body and shorter limbs, and the nostrils are between the nasal and rostral scutes; the feet are three-toed. The color is bronze above, usually with four longitudinal darker stripes, and greenish white below; the number of stripes and the black and white markings vary; the length is 16 in., the anterior limbs 2/5 in. and the posterior 1/2 in. It is viviparous, and is found in southern Europe and northern Africa; the food consists of worms, small land mollusks, spiders, and insects. An allied species (heteromeles Mauri-tanicus, Dum. and Bibr.) of N. Africa has only two toes on the fore feet; it is grayish white dotted with black above, and whitish below; the length is 4 1/3 in., the anterior limbs 1/5 in. and the posterior 1/4 in.

Seps tridactylus.

Seps tridactylus.