Western Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus gracilis)

(Fig. 01)

Picture Notes: This picture (Fig. 01) was taken while on a hike to the La Madre Spring in the middle of the La Madre Wilderness Area, inside the Red Rock National Conservation Area. We were at an elevation of nearly 5,500 feet, hiking along the rocky sides of the stream that flows from the La Madre Spring.
Description: I believe the picture above is a Western Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus gracilis). It is a small lizard, generally, 2 - 3 1/2 inches long from snout to vent. It has small keeled and pointed scales overlapping on the upper surfaces of the body and limbs. These scales are not as large as they are on other lizards of the genus Sceloporus. The scales on the back of the thigh are mostly granular, not keeled (as they are on the Western Fence Lizard.) Their color is gray or brown with dark blotches or irregular bands on the body and tail. Stripes on the sides, visible on other subspecies of Sceloporus graciosus, are not distinct, being reduced to rows of blotches or only partly connected blotches. There is usually a bar of black on the shoulder and rusty coloring on the armpits and sometimes on the sides of the body and the neck. Active spring through fall, they hibernate during winter. They are a good climber and jumper, able to quickly jump from rock to rock. Living mostly on the ground near bushes, logs, rocks, or brush piles, and logs, they are often observed basking on rocks and logs. They eat a variety of small invertebrates, including ants, termites, grasshoppers, flies, spiders, and beetles. Sagebrush Lizards are usually found at higher elevations and may even be found in juniper-pine woodlands with brushy understory. Their range is from eastern Washington to Wyoming, south to southern Nevada, northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico.