Callisaurus draconoides Blainville, 1835, northern Baja California. Nine subspecies are recognized.
English: Gridiron-tailed lizard, northern zebra-tailed lizard, western zebra-tailed lizard, eastern zebra-tailed lizard, Nevada zebratail, Mojave zebratail; German: Zebraschwanzleguan; Spanish: Lagartija cachora, perrita.
Zebra-tailed lizards are speckled, light gray to brown lizards with particularly long forelimbs and a flat, broadly banded tail. The dark tail bands continue on to the light-colored ventral tail, where they are particularly noticeable. Males typically are distinctly blue on the belly, and display a pink throat fan during breeding season. Adults reach about 10 in (25.4 cm) in total length, with the tail about one and a half times as long as the body.
These lizards occur in the southwestern United States, northwestern to west-central Mexico.
The zebra-tailed lizard prefers a sand or gravel substrate in desert canyon washes, scrubby plains, and other areas that are dry for much of the year.
This wary species is noted for its swiftness. When threatened by a predator, the zebra-tailed lizard will arch its tail over its back and wave the particularly conspicuous ventral banding at the pursuer. As the predator's attention is drawn to that location, the lizard speeds off to cover in a dizzying pattern of stops, starts, and sharp turns.
This mainly diurnal lizard will consume tender spring vegetation, but mostly feeds on insects and spiders. A sit-and-wait hunter, it may suddenly leap at prey, sometimes jumping a foot or more to secure its meal.
Male zebra-tailed lizards flare the throat fan during the breeding season. During the summer, females typically lay two to six eggs per clutch, and a female may have up to five clutches in one year.
Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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