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Panamint Alligator Lizard (Elgaria panamintina)
Lizards Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Panamint Alligator Lizard (Elgaria panamintina)
Adult. Photo © 2007 William Flaxington

General Description: A large, tan lizard with brown crossbars on the back and tail. The scales are smooth, the neck is long, and the tail is twice as long as the body. In the young, the crossbands are darker and contrast more strongly with the tan background color.

Taxonomy: Alligator Lizard Family (Anguidae).

Technical Description: Body size large (to 6 inches); tail long (to 12 inches; to twice as long as the body). Dorsal color light (yellow or beige), marked with 7-8 evenly spaced brown crossbands. Tail with crossbars. Ventral color light with continuous or broken lines. Scales smooth. Eye with yellow iris. Young with darker crossbands that contrast more strongly with the ground color.

Panamint Alligator Lizard (Elgaria panamintina)
Subadult. Photo © 2007 William Flaxington

Diet: Insects and other arthropods.

Habitat: Desert canyons with permanent water and dense vegetation (e.g., areas with Desert Willow and Canyon Grape), leaf litter, or talus at elevations of about 3,000-7,000 ft. Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland habitats.

Range: This species is thougth to be restricted to the Panamint (Death Valley National Park) and Inyo Mountains, but it may inhabit desert mountain ranges south and east of Death Valley (e.g., the Spring Mountains [Mt. Charleston]).

Panamint Alligator Lizard (Elgaria panamintina)
Adult. Photo © 2007 William Flaxington

Breeding: Little is known. Perhaps one clutch of 12 eggs.

Similar Species: No other smooth, shiny lizards in our area are tan with dark crossbars.

Comments: This species appears to be restricted to moist habitats left over from the last ice age. As the deserts formed at the end of the ice age, these lizards became stranded in a few moist mountain canyons.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120907

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