Common collared lizard

Crotaphytus collaris

SUBFAMILY

Crotaphytinae

TAXONOMY

Crotaphytus collaris Say, 1823, Verdigris River, Oklahoma. Six subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Mountain boomer, yellowhead collared lizard, western collared lizard, eastern collared lizard, Chihuahuan collared lizard, Sonoran collared lizard; French: Lézard a collier; German: Halsbandleguan; Spanish: Lagartija de collar.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Collared lizards are sturdy-looking lizards with a large head, long, round tail, and two dark, often-broken rings around the neck. The body ranges from yellowish green to blue, olive, or grayish brown, is dotted with small whitish spots, and is sometimes tinged with orange. Males are typically more brightly colored than females. Adults may reach 14 in (35.5 cm), with the tail comprising two-thirds of that length.

DISTRIBUTION

Collared lizards are found in the central and west-central United States and into northeastern Mexico.

HABITAT

These lizards prefer hilly, rocky glades and prairies with little shade.

BEHAVIOR

These are exceptionally cautious lizards that need little provocation to run (often on two feet at high speed) to hiding places under and between rocks. They are aggressive when cornered, and will either bite, or show their intent to bite by gaping at the attacker. Despite the common name of mountain boomer, these lizards are silent.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Collared lizards stalk or ambush various insects and spiders, along with occasional small lizards. They are known to wave their long tails before snapping out at their prey.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The breeding season of the collared lizard is in May and June. In July, females lay about a half dozen eggs per clutch, either in a burrow beneath rocks or buried several inches deep in the sand. Some females, particularly those in warmer climates, have two clutches per year. The eggs hatch two to three months later.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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