Prairie Lizard

Sceloporus consobrinus

(Sceloporus undulatus garmani)

Prairie Lizard

Distribution in Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Prairie Lizard is distributed from southern South Dakota and western Nebraska south through Colorado and Kansas into Oklahoma. In Wyoming this lizard is found in the southeast corner of the state at elevations below 6,000 feet where it inhabits the shortgrass communities of the prairie life zone. It prefers sandy areas with open ground mixed with patches of small shrubs, piles of weathered wood, and small rocky outcrops or floodplain terraces as well as grassy hillsides rimmed with yucca. It is more abundant in areas associated with light vegetative cover (not tall or heavy grass cover) and is quick to colonize areas resulting from disturbances such as fire or grazing. It is a diurnal insectivore, active from late April through September, and feeds on ants, beetles, and grasshoppers.

Prairie Lizard Prairie Lizard

In some areas the Prairie Lizard shares with the Red-lipped Plateau Lizard a type of distribution known as parapatric overlap where the ranges of the two lizards lie adjacent to each other, but the ranges do not intergrade or overlap. It is easily distinguished from the Red-lipped Lizard by lacking the reddish orange coloration on the lips and chin, by the lack of blue throat patches, and by having distinct white longitudinal stripes along the body rather than a pattern of black dorsolateral zigzag markings. It is identified from the Sagebrush Lizard, with whom it may share habitat with in sympatric overlap, by lacking the black-white-black stripe and granular scales on the back of the thigh and by missing the black shoulder patch. It also shares sympatric overlap with the Earless Lizard and is distinguished from them by having a distinct ear opening, prominent white dorsolateral stripes, and a longer tail.

Prairie Lizard Prairie Lizard

They are small to medium sized lizards with snout-vent lengths of about 2 inches. Their dorsal surface is made of overlapping and weakly keeled scales; the ventral scales are smooth, somewhat overlapping, and polygonal or lance shaped. They have a grayish, brown, or tan background with a pair of distinct pale or white dorsolateral stripes running from behind the eye to the base of the tail; there are often black spots or squiggles scattered on either side of these stripes. They also have a wider gray stripe running midline down the back. The belly is white. Neither sex has throat patches but males do have black-bordered, blue patches along the sides of the abdomen.

Prairie Lizard Prairie Lizard

Clutch size is 4-8 eggs and, depending on the age and breeding condition, females usually lay two and sometimes three clutches from mid May through mid July. Hatchlings begin to appear in late July through September. Sexual maturity is reached in the 2nd year.