lizards, 2006-2007

August 9, 2010

After ten posts on mostly plants, now it’s time for some reptiles.  The next posts will cover lizards, then snakes.  After covering reptiles then I’ll post some amphibians, birds, and mammals; and then make some posts dedicated to scenery and habitat shots; and then probably get back to more plants’ posts.  Not sure when I’ll get the arthropod photos posted here…some of those seem difficult to identify.

It took me a year of paying attention to be able to confidently & routinely identify three of western Utah’s common lizards: sagebrush (Sceloporus graciosus), western fence (Sceloporus occidentalis) and sideblotch (Uta stansburiana).  Adult sagebrush and western fence have similar silhouettes, but sagebrush have less protruding scales and a characteristic dorsal pattern.  Baby sagebrush and sideblotch can be similar in size & general color, but their patterns differ & sideblotch have a narrower head and longer tail.  All three of these species can overlap in habitat ~5,500-7,000 ft elevation.  In my experience, sagebrush lizards occupy the highest west-central Utah elevations (~5,500-8,500 ft), then fence (~5,000-7,800 ft), and then sideblotch (up to ~7,000 ft).

Three species I have seen (north of Arizona) but have not photographed are eastern collared (Crotaphytus collaris), desert spiny (Sceloporus magister) and plateau striped whiptail (Aspidoscelis velox).  These next posts include all the other lizard species I’ve seen (as of 2010).

great basin collared liz, neonate, Hurricane Cliffs

early May 06, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), neonate, Hurricane Cliffs, Iron Co, UT

This young-of-the-year remains the only specimen of this species I’ve seen at this site that I’ve returned to many times.  Its pinion-juniper habitat is more shaded & less rocky than most habitat in which I find this species.  So, here this species is at low density but still present.

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short horned liz, Black Mtns

mid May 06, short horned liz (Phrynosoma hernandesi), Black Mtns, Iron Co, UT

This lizard shot off just after I took this shot.  It was in very homogeneous big-sagebrush habitat.

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short horned liz, juv, Wasatch Mtns

early June 06, short horned liz (Phrynosoma hernandesi), juvenile, Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

This was the first specimen of this species I found in the Wasatch Mtns.  It’s possible to spend plenty of time in their habitat & not notice them.

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leopard liz, E Deep Ck Mtns foothills

early June 06, leopard liz (Gambelia wislizenii), E Deep Ck Mtns foothills, Juab Co, UT

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western skink liz, Sheeprock Mtns

early July 06, western skink liz (Plestiodon skiltonianus), Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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western skink liz, eggs, Sheeprock Mtns

early July 06, western skink liz (Plestiodon skiltonianus), eggs, Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I turned over a rock, an adult skink scurried away, I saw these & snapped one quick photo, and I gently set the rock back down.

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sideblotch liz, E Deep Ck Mtns

late Aug 06, sideblotch liz (Uta stansburiana), E Deep Ck Mtns, Juab Co, UT

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western fence liz, E Deep Dk Mtns

late Aug 06, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), E Deep Dk Mtns, Juab Co, UT

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neonate lizards: sagebrush & sideblotch

late Aug 06--2 neonates' comparison: (LEFT) sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), from Pilot Range, Tooele Co, UT; & (RIGHT) sideblotch liz (Uta stansburiana), from E Deep Ck Mtns, Juab Co, UT

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eastern fence liz, neonate, Hualupai Mtns

early Oct 06, eastern fence liz (Sceloporus undulatus), neonate, Hualupai Mtns, Mohave Co, AZ

Even though they are not so far S of Utah, NW Arizona’s Hualupai Mtns seem quite different than anywhere I’ve been in Utah.  Near a sort of intersection of the great basin, mohave & sonoran deserts, a broad diversity of reptile species lives in & near them.

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western skink liz, Wasatch Mtns

early April 07, western skink liz (Plestiodon skiltonianus), Wasatch Mtns, Wasatch Co, UT

This is the earliest time of year I have found this species.

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sideblotch liz, gravid, Oquirrh Mtns

late April 07, sideblotch liz (Uta stansburiana), gravid female, Oquirrh Mtns, Utah Co, UT

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western fence liz, W House Range

mid May 07, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), W House Range, Millard Co, UT

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great basin collared liz, juv, W House Range

mid May 07, great basin collared lizard (Crotophytus bicinctores), juvenile, western House Range, Millard Co, UT

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sagebrush liz, E House Range

mid May 07, sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), E House Range, Millard Co, UT

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tree liz, Moab area

early June 07, tree liz (Urosaurus ornatus), Moab area, Grand Co, UT

This remains the only one of these I have seen within Utah, so far.

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western fence liz, E House Range

mid June 07, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), E House Range, Millard Co, UT

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great basin collared liz, adult male, E House Range

mid June 07, great basin collared liz (Crotophytus bicinctores), adult male, E House Range, Millard Co, UT

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great basin collared liz, subadult male, E House Range

mid June 07, great basin collared liz (Crotophytus bicinctores), subadult male, E House Range, Millard Co, UT

This smaller male was within a few meters of the larger male.  I think at least one of them must have been aware that the other was near.

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western fence liz, San Gabriel Mtns

late Aug 07, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), San Gabriel Mtns, Los Angeles Co, CA

Well, I know this is outside of this blog’s prescribed area.  (The San Gabriels are W of the Sierra Nevadas.)  This was the most interesting animal I found in my one day in this mountain range at a very dry time.

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sagebrush liz, Sheeprock Mtns

mid Sept 07, sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), Sheeprock Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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