Common sagebrush lizard

Urosaurus graciosus

SUBFAMILY

Phrynosomatinae

TAXONOMY

Urosaurus graciosus Baird and Girard, 1852, Southern California. Two subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Long-tailed uta, western sagebrush lizard, northern sagebrush lizard, southern sagebrush lizard, brush lizard, Arizona brush lizard; Spanish: Lagartija de Matorral, cachora coluda.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Sagebrush lizards are light grayish brown lizards with a very long tail. They have a series of thin, dark lines branching across the head and running down the back and sides. The lizards are generally darker in color in the early morning and become lighter as the temperature rises. Blue blotches are

HABITAT

Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizards live in dunes and other desert areas with loose, sandy soil and some low vegetation.

BEHAVIOR

When not scurrying about the dunes, this lizard is either hiding in a bush or a burrow, or buried in the sand. It accomplishes the latter avoidance tactic by maneuvering its hind limbs and body (so-called sand swimming) to wiggle itself down into the substrate.

frequently noticeable on the belly. Adults can reach 10.5 in (26.7 cm), including a tail that makes up about 70% of the total length.

DISTRIBUTION

Sagebrush lizards occur in the southwestern United States and in Baja California, Mexico.

HABITAT

These lizards live among sagebrush and other shrubs, as well as in mesquite and creosote trees, in otherwise open desert areas.

BEHAVIOR

This lizard is known as a climber and is frequently seen stretched out perfectly still on branches, tree trunks, and other vertical surfaces. When threatened, they scamper into thicker vegetation, or abandon their arboreal habits altogether and run into burrows hidden beneath vegetation.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Sagebrush lizards mostly eat insects. They do much of their foraging in vegetation, but will venture onto the desert ground when necessary.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Female sagebrush lizards commonly lay clutches of two to five eggs from late spring to late summer, although clutch sizes of a dozen eggs have been reported. In cooler climates, one clutch is common. Females in warmer climates may lay up to six clutches a year.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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