Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores)

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This page last updated on 05/17/2017

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: Even though this lizard is relatively common, I have only spotted then on a couple of occasions. The first time, I found one (Figs. 01 & 05) posing for me on a hike to the ghost town of Delamar, Nevada on 06/18/2012.
The next time I spotted one (Fig. 02) was on 10/04/2016 on a hike to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas. I concur with comments that I have read saying that they look like a small "dinosaur". The folds and roughness of their skin combined with their big head and huge hind feet certainly give off this feeling.
My last spotting was on 05/03/2017 while driving down Pauline Road in Goodsprings Valley I captured these great pictures (Fig. 03 & 04). At nearly six inches, excluding the tail, this was also the largest one I have seen so far
(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)

(Fig. 05)
Description: The Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores) is a large lizard with a broad-head with a narrow-neck that has a pair of black bands. It has large rear legs, and a long, relatively thick tail for its overall size; 2.5 - 4 3/8 inches long excluding tail. The tail is often twice the length of the body. Its backside color is brown to olive with many small white spots and dashes and brown or reddish-orange crossbands. These crossbands are more pronounced on males. Females are not as brightly-colored as males, except when breeding when they develop reddish-orange bars and spots on the neck and body. Its two black bands on the neck with a white band in between them create the "collar" for which this lizard is named, are its most distinguishing feature. Sometimes the black bands are edged with two more light bands. It continues onto the underside of the throat on males, covering the throat and much of the chin. The throats and chins of females lack this dark coloring. Males also have a broader head than females. The underside is mostly white. Males have two black patches on the underside near the groin. The tail is flattened slightly vertically, with brown spots on the sides. A light stripe on top of the tail is usually present on males, and absent on females.

Because they are very tolerant of heat, they are active in daytime and are often seen basking conspicuously on top of small rocks. Foraging for food on the ground, usually near rock piles, they eat insects, spiders, small lizards, including horned lizards, small snakes, leaves and flowers. Beyond California the species ranges north through most of Nevada to extreme southeast Oregon and southern Idaho, and south through western Utah and northern and western Arizona. Isolated populations occur in eastern Idaho and Utah.