Blue Spiny Lizard

Children's Zoo

Location

In the Zoo
Size
Male
Female
5-14 inches
5-14 inches
90- 200 grams
90- 200 grams

Second summer
Third summer

Geographic Range

North America from west coast to southern Texas and northeastern Mexico

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Sceloporus cyanogenys
Class:
Reptilia
Order:
Squamata
Family:
Phrynosomatidae
Genus:
Sceloporus

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet:
Carnivorous
Activity Time Frame:
Diurnal
Interactivity:
Social
Sexual Dimorphism:
Yes
Gestation:
4 months
Lifespan in the Wild:
3-4 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
7 years

Conservation

Status:
Least Concerned
Threats:

Characteristics

Biggest of the spiny lizards, 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 their backs 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.

Species Specifics

Sexual Dimorphism. Male lizards have metallic green/blue on their backs and a tail with white flecks. Males also have a blue chin and throat. Females and young lizards lack the blue-green coloration and belly patches and have grey throats.

Physical Characteristics

This lizard is a good climber of rocks and trees, but can also be found on the ground. They are called spiny lizards because of their large, pointed scales. The spines may deter some predators. The tail can break off as an escape mechanism.

Ecology

Habitat

Seeks shelter in rocky crevices underground. Prefers rocky terrain in arid and semi-arid environments, where it is commonly seen on boulders, rock piles, cliffs, bridges, and in dry creekbeds.

Distribution

Rocky hillsides and scrublands of south Texas and northeastern Mexico.

Diet

A variety of invertebrates, especially flying insects.

Ecological Web

Secondary consumer.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Behavior

Social Behavior

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 flowing blue of the belly.

Reproductive Behavior

This species of Sceloporus is ovoviviparous, i.e. gives birth to live young. From February to June, females give birth to 6-18 little lizards.

Offspring

Baby lizards are about 2" in length.

Conservation

Status

Not endangered. Listed as a species of Least Concern by IUCN.

Historical

Current Threats

Our Role

No items found.

How You Can Help

Fascinating Facts

References

Grzimek, Bernhard. 1984. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York City, NY.

Stebbins, Robert. 1985. Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA, p. 125.