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Orange-headed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus)
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)
Lizards Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Orange-headed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus)

General Description: A large, stocky lizard with large, spiny scales, crossbars on the back, and a large wedge-shaped bar on the neck. Males have a deep blue patch on the throat and dark blue patches, edged in black, running down the sides of the belly and joining to cover the groin. In females, the blue throat and belly patches are weak or absent.

Taxonomy: Phrynosomatid Lizard Family (Phrynosomatidae).

Technical Description: Body size 3.5 to 5.5 inches, stocky; tail longer than head and body. Dorsal scales large and spiny. Dorsal color light with dark crossbars and flecks; some scales yellow. Side of neck with black triangular-shaped mark. Ear opening partially covered with long, pointed scales. Head with orange.

Orange-headed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus)

Diet: Feeds on ants, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, other lizards, and plant material.

Habitat: Occurs in a variety of upland and riparian habitats, especially in places with trees to climb.

Range: This species occurs from southern California east to the Four Corners region and south into Mexico. The Orange-headed Spiny Lizard occurs in northern Arizona and southern Utah. Look for this species on trips to the Grand Canyon and southern Utah.

Orange-headed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus)

Breeding: Mate during early summer; eggs hatch in late summer.

Similar Species: No other species in southern Nevada has the enlarged, spiny scales seen on spiny lizards. Western Fence Lizard looks similar, but without the enlarged scales.

Comments: These lizards like to live near trees and will run up their tree to escape danger.

Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 111218

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