Friday, November 20, 2009

Side-Blotched Lizard

The side-blotched lizard is scattered widely in the west, including all of Southern California, Baja California, most of Nevada, three-fourths of Arizona, large portions of Utah and into Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New Mexico and Texas. A small, often brownish lizard with with a bluish black blotch behind the forelimb. Sometimes the blotch is faint or missing. The ground color is brown, gray or yellowish and blotched, speckled or sometimes unpatterned. Sometimes they have orange or reddish orange on the throat and sides of the belly. The lizard below was photographed in Joshua Tree National Park near the Belle Campground.
A closer view of the back which shows some brownish stripes.
A side-blotched lizard with a very different look. It is the most common lizard in the desert and semi-arrid regions. It can be active all year round in the southern deserts when the temperature is warm. It lives only about a year. It is very variable and there are likely three subspecies in California that will be delineated in the future.
A closer look at the back pattern.
On April 3, 2010, I was with Andrew and Lauren near the Cottonwood entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The side-blotched lizards were numerous. The first one was photographed at the pullout on the bajada and nature trail near the park entrance.
The second was photographed near the Cottonwood grove of fan palms.
A closeup of the markings on the back.

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