Blue Spiny Lizard


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Phrynsomatidae

GENUS: Sceloporus

SPECIES: cyanogenys

DESCRIPTION:
Biggest of the spiny lizards, S. s. cyanogenys can be up to 14 inches in length, including the tail. Tails are longer than the body. This is a stocky, grayish-brown lizard with white spots on the head and back and a distinctive white-bordered black collar around the neck. Males have a blue-green sheen to the back and a blue chin, throat and belly. The scales of the back feel very rough, for each scale bears a keel ending in a sharp spine.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Rocky hillsides and scrublands of south Texas and northeastern Mexico.

DIET:
A variety of invertebrates, especially flying insects.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Diurnal. A good climber of rocks and trees, but also found on the ground. Seeks shelter in rock crevices and underground. This species of Sceloporus is ovoviviporous, i.e. live-bearing. From February to June, females give birth to six to eighteen little lizards.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Called spiny lizards because of their large, pointed scales, the spines may deter some predators. The tail can break off as an escape mechanism.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
The genus Sceloporus species are known as the "blue bellies." They are closely related to iguanas. In disputes the Sceloporus male bobs his head very frequently, moving it up and down with incredible speed. A weaker male will flee. If the rival doesn't withdraw, he will turn broadside and flatten his body so as to present the greatest area and display the glowing blue of the belly.

OUR ANIMALS:

STATUS IN WILD:
Not endangered.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Grzimek, Bernhard. 1984. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York City, NY.
  2. Stebbins, Robert. 1985. Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA, p. 127-128.
  3. Internet: St. Louis Zoo; utexas.edu

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