|Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)|
DESCRIPTION: L=10" (25cm) including tail. Overall tan to gray with a dark collar. But unlike the Collared Lizard, the spiny lizards have keeled, pointed, rough scales. Two species occur in the desert around Tucson, the Desert Spiny (S. magister) and the Clark's Spiny (S. clarkii). The Clark's Spiny has dark bands on its wrist whereas the Desert Spiny does not. Males of both species have bright blue throats and bellies. During the breeding season, females may have orangish or reddish heads.
NATURAL HISTORY: Carnivorous, feeding on arthropods. Diurnal. Lay eggs (unlike their mountain-living relatives -- see To Lay or Not to Lay Eggs). Frequently displays head-bobbing and push-up behavior. Spiny lizards, and some other lizards, will change their color to be darker during cool times (thus absorbing more heat from the sun) and lighter during warm times (thus reflecting more of the solar radiation). Also, spiny lizard species living in the cooler, higher elevations are darker.