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The Granite Spiny Lizard by Richard Bartlett on 2019-10-14 00:50:00


This is an adult male granite spiny lizard.
Light phase adult male Sceloporus orcutti are arguably the most beautiful of our spiny lizards. The ground color of adult males may vary from copper to charcoal. A dark wedge, often obscured in darker males, is present on each shoulder. Dorsally, scales are marked with black, turquoise, and yellow-green. The entire venter and throat is brilliant blue. Light phase males often have a broad stripe of intense purple for the entire length of the dorsum. Females tend more towards a coppery ground color, are often prominently banded, and have the purple dorsal area less well defined. The venter is whitish or faintly washed with blue. Juveniles are prominently crossbanded.

Adult males attain a total length of 10 1/2" (svl 4 1/2"). Females are somewhat smaller.

This beautiful rock and cliff dweller ranges southward from the northern side of San Gorgonio Pass, Riverside County, CA, southward to the latitude of La Paz, Baja California Sur. (south of this it is represented by the genetically dissimilar but lookalike Hunsakerís spiny lizard). Adult male granite spiny lizards attain a total length of 10 1/2" (svl 4 1/2"). Females are somewhat smaller and are less colorful.

One large female laid 11 parchment-shelled eggs in late June. Incubation lasted for 57 days at a variable (room) temperature. The hatchlings consumed small crickets within a day of hatching. Both nighttime cooling and natural photoperiod are probably necessary to induce breeding and the production of viable eggs.

Fast and wary, S. orcutti is most easily approached early in the morning and just before retiring to their crevices for the night. Continue Reading "The Granite Spiny Lizard"

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