special lizards, 2011-2012

December 29, 2012

Here are four species of lizards that I’ll call “special” here since I was able to photograph them my first time.

The first two of these four species here I had never seen in Utah before.

western chuckwalla, reddish crevice, Babylon Rd area

mid April 2011, western chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater), in reddish crevice, Babylon Rd area, Washington Co, UT

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western chuckwalla, grayish crevice, Babylon Rd area

mid April 2011, western chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater), in grayish crevice, Babylon Rd area, Washington Co, UT

The second shot above is of a different specimen than the first.  These were in crevices late in the day, and I’ve still never seen one outside a crevice.

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habitat of western chuckwalla, Babylon Rd area

mid April 2011, habitat of western chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater), Babylon Rd area, Washington Co, UT

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zebra-tailed lizard, Babylon area

mid April 2011, zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides), Babylon area, Washington Co, UT

I had seen zebra-tailed lizards in Arizona, but a couple I found here in this open, sandy area were the first I’d seen within Utah.

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yellow-backed desert spiny lizard, subadult (b), near Hurricane

mid April 2011, yellow-backed desert spiny lizard (Sceloporus uniformis), subadult (b), near Hurricane, Washington Co, UT

I have seen this species in earlier years along the foothills of the Pine Valley Mtns, but this subadult was the first one I’ve photographed.
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Different shot of same specimen above:

yellow-backed desert spiny lizard, subadult (a), near Hurricane

mid April 2011, yellow-backed desert spiny lizard (Sceloporus uniformis), subadult (a), near Hurricane, Washington Co, UT

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plateau striped whiptail, E of Cedar City

late June 2012, plateau striped whiptail (Aspedoscelis velox), E of Cedar City, Cedar Cyn area, Iron Co, UT

This was the fourth area in Utah where I’ve seen plateau striped whiptails.  At the three other spots, I found them rustling through fallen oak leaves; but here on this walk I learned they can also be found away from oak, in habitat such as this pinion – juniper – alderleaf mahogany habitat.  But, there were patches of oak within 200m of this spot.

This is Utah’s all-female (parthenogenetic) whiptail species.  Like all whiptails I’ve encountered, the two I saw at this spot were skittish & difficult to photograph.

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habitat of plateau striped whiptail, E of Cedar City

late June 2012, habitat of plateau striped whiptail (Aspedoscelis velox), E of Cedar City, Cedar Cyn area, Iron Co, UT

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