lizards on vacation
arizona may 2003
first lizard spotting
south rim of the grand canyon

this is probably a tree lizard --- they are extremely common in arizona. the males have different throat colorations that indicate how likely they are to fight (orange with a blue spot) or flee (orange with no spot). this dimorphism is caused by differing levels of the hormones testosterone and progesterone.

learn more about tree lizards

second lizard spotting:
wupatki ruins national monument
29 april 2003

a side-blotched lizard! woohoo!

Ammon knows a thing or two about these noble and fascinating creatures. male side-blotched lizards also have distinct throat colorations that correspond to different strategies for defending territory, but what does that have to do with the paper - scissors - rock game? find out by visiting LizardLand.

this male is displaying blue dots typical of mating coloration. his vivid blue was extremely stirking against the red rocks of wupatki. side-blotched lizards are territorial, but they defend relatively small areas. they are vulnerable to predation from housecats and consequently areless common in areas with human settlement.

third lizard spotting:
saguaro national forest,
west of tucson
2 may 2003

this is an earless lizard, identified by its unusual jawline and distinctive lack of ears. there are two species of earless lizards, greater and lesser, which are distinguished by stripes under their tails.

it's really hard to infer the actual or relative sizes of lizards from pictures after the fact, so even if there is a size difference between the greater and lesser earless lizard it would be hard to tell which was which in a photo.

lizards galore!
at catalina state park
north of tucson
5 may 2003

note the pronounced black and white stripes on the tail --- this is a zebra lizard. zebra lizards have an interesting 'tail wagging' behavior where they hold their tails up right and flick them back and forth, hightlighting the black and white markings.

it looks like this one has a brightly colored underbelly with black stripes.

this zebra lizard is missing part of its tail -- how embarassing. male lizards often lose their tails in territorial battles with other males.

zebra lizards are relatively large and very fast. I saw at least six in a small area.

lizard spotting number five
at catalina state park
north of tucson
5 may 2003

I saw several of this type, it's probably another earless lizard.

lizard spotting number six
at catalina state park
north of tucson
5 may 2003

unlike the other, more skittish lizards this one stayed put in the middle of the path as I approached. it was very brightly colored.

this is probably yet another earless lizard. the bright colors might be mating coloration.

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