Monday, June 6, 2011

A collared lizard in the Spanish Springs Canyon, Nevada

Collared lizards are recognized by their distinct bands around the neck and shoulders. This one was seen in the Spanish Spring Canyon on the hills across the Pah Rah Range, south of the Golden Eagle Regional Park and Pah Rah Interpretive Trailhead. I am not a lizard wizard, but I think, it is either a western collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) or a black-collared lizard (Crotaphytus insularis) [1,2]. Both species are known to live in rocky desert habitat, where they can find boulders for lookouts and shelter.

The shown lizard enjoys the sunshine and the warmth on the rock surface—laying and watching. One can see his or her (how is the lizard's sex determined?) muscular hindlegs, which are much longer than his forelegs. Collared lizards are able to run considerable distances bipedally on their hindlegs [3]. What a nice jogging companion he or she could be! 

[1] Nathan M. Smith and Wilmer W. Tanner: A Taxonomic Study of the Western Collared Lizards, Crotaphytus collaris and Crotaphytus insularis. Brigham Young University Science Bulletin, Biological Series - Volume XIX, Number 4, April 1974 [].
[2] Peter Alden and Fred Heath: Field Guide to California. National Audubon Society, Chanticleer Press, 1998; page 255.
[3] Eric R. Pianka and Lauie J. Vitt: Lizards - Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2003; page 22.

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