Mountain spiny lizard

Sceloporus jarrovii

SUBFAMILY

Phrynosomatinae

TAXONOMY

Sceloporus jarrovii Cope, 1875, Southern Arizona. Eight subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Yarrow's spiny lizard; French: Lézard épineux, lézard de palisades; German: Jarrov Zaunleguan; Spanish: Lagartija espinosa de Yarrow.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Mountain spiny lizards are robust lizards with finely patterned skin. The dorsal body is dark gray to black and has large scales, each of which contains a central, white dot. The male's belly and sides range from blue to black to gray; the female's belly is usually whitish. The overall coloration of these lizards can vary depending on environmental conditions. Adults can reach about 9 in (23 cm) long, with the tail making up one-half to three-fifths of that length.

DISTRIBUTION

These lizards occur in the western United States to northwest and west-central Mexico.

HABITAT

Mountain spiny lizards are found in mountainous areas at elevations between 5,000 and 10,000 ft (1,520 and 3,050 m). They prefer rocky, well-forested areas.

BEHAVIOR

These lizards engage in extended morning basking periods, and are less wary than most other lizards. They are territorial and will defend larger areas when food is limited. During lean times, they may also alter their diet and become less active.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Mountain spiny lizards eat insects and spiders, as well as lizards, including other mountain spiny lizards.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Most lizards lay eggs, but mountain spiny lizards bear live young, which are born in the spring. The gestation period is about five months, but since females can store sperm, breeding can occur several months earlier. A typical litter ranges from five to eight, but a few more or less is not unusual.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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