Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Orange-Headed Spiny Lizard

The orange-headed spiny lizard is a subspecies of the desert spiny lizard. In my prior post on the yellow-backed spiny lizard, I gave a little background on the desert spiny lizard. The distinctive coloring which gives this subspecies its name is obviously the orangeish to yellowish head, found on both males and females. On the ones I've seen, which is probably not a true distinction, the black wedge-shape on the side of the neck is not as wedge-shaped on the orange-headed spiny lizard as the yellow-backed spiny lizard.

The orange-head spiny has five to six chevron shaped bars on its back, from the shoulders to the base of the tail. I saw the same bars on the yellow-backed spinys, which aren't supposed to have them, but they were fainter and less pronounced.

Although, from the name, you would think the orange-headed spiny would be prettier, I think the yellow-backed is prettier. Their colors tend to be more vivid.

This orange-headed spiny was found near Havasu Campground on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in northern Arizona in September 1992. Their range is smaller than the yellow-backed. They are found in a small portion of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, a tiny corner of southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.

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