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Monday, August 31, 2009

IDENTIFY THIS LIZARD

Dear Naomi and Richie have been carrying out some work for me in Texas in conjunction with the infamous blue dog of Elmendorf. They were visiting rancher Devin Macanally when he pointed out what he descibed as a `chameleon`.

Well, it ain't a chameleon because they are exclusively old world creatures (although they have apparently been introduced to California) but my knowledge of Texas herps is not good enough to say anything more than "ummmm it's a lizard".

So over to you. (I suspect that Scottie a.k.a retrieverman will be the first with a positive ID)

5 comments:

Jae said...

Looks to me like the Texas Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus ornatus) but the angle isn't perfect.

Retrieverman said...

It looks to be some subspecies of Eastern fence lizard. This species is called an Eastern fence lizard or a prairie lizard depending upon where it is found. In Texas, the northern Eastern fence lizard is found in East Texas. The Southern prairie lizard is found in most of the state, while Northern prairie lizard is found in the eastern part of the Panhandle. It might be possible to see a red-lipped prairie lizard in the extreme northwest of the Panhandle. These all are subspecies of a diverse species that is called Sceloporus undulatus. I'm putting my money on that species.Some of these are heavily striped, while others are not. I usually find the local subspecies in trees or in log piles. The males have blue markings on their bellies, and they do iguana push-ups as territorial displays. They sometimes get so into their head-bobbing and push-ups that they fall from trees.

However, there is a caveat to my analysis:

If this lizard had been found where I live, I could identify it exactly. However, Texas has a plethora of spiny lizards species, which are in the genus Sceloporus. Many of these are locally distributed, and a lot of them look like normal fence or prairie lizards. These animals are all called "spiny lizards."

But my guess is it is some subspecies of Sceloporus undulatus. I am 90 percent sure that is what it is.

Here's the subspecies range map for Naomi to determine which subspecies it is:

http://www.dlia.org/atbi/species/Animalia/Chordata/Reptilia/Squamata/images/Phrynosomatidae/Sceloporus_undulatus/Sceloporus_undulatus_map.htm

Retrieverman said...

I do think it is worth considering the species called the Texas spiny lizard, though. I don't think this animal has the spiked scales of that species, but it looks almost exactly like a fence or prairie lizard. It is found in nearly the same place and comes in nearly the same color morphs.

I still think it is a prairie or fence lizard.

Retrieverman said...

I don't think it is a Texas tree lizard, because that species is too gracile, and its tail is too long.

http://www.californiaherps.com/noncal/misc/misclizards/images/uoornatusam6072.jpg

This is most likely a fence or prairie lizard or some other species in the genus Sceloporus. The Texas spiny lizard is worth considering.

Christian said...

I am going to concur with the fence lizard ID. However, whenever we do see herpetofauna in the warmer states, it is important to bear in mind that there are great numbers of introduced, non-indigenous species living in states such as Texas and Florida.