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Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)
Lizards Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)

General Description: Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis) are dark little lizards that have many small black spots on the back (sometimes arranged in longitudinal lines). The eyes are lidless, and the pupils are vertical. These lizards are secretive; look for them under debris.

Taxonomy: Night Lizard Family (Xantusiidae).

Technical Description: Body size small (1.5 to 2.5 in; total length 5 in.), slim. The body color is dark (olive, gray, or brown) with small black spots on the back that tend to form lines. Eyes with vertical pupils; eyelids absent. Skin soft. Head scales large and symmetrical; dorsal scales small and granular; ventral scales large, square, and smooth.

Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)

Diet: Termites, ants, beetles, scorpions, centipedes, and flies.

Habitat: Mojave Desert Scrub in areas with Blackbrush or with Honey Mesquite and Catclaw Acacia (wash habitats); also Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands with sagebrush (Upper Sonoran Life Zone). Associated with Joshua Tree, Mojave Yucca, Banana Yucca. Secretive and dependent upon cover, this species primarily lives beneath and among fallen leaves and branches of Yucca, Utah Agave, Joshua Trees, and other debris.

Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)

Range: This species is distributed throughout the Mojave and Colorado deserts in southern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and southward into Baja California and northwestern Mexico. Also scattered in Utah and Arizona. This subspecies occurs in southern Nevada and southeastern California.

Breeding: Offspring are born live during September and October.

Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)

Similar Species: In southern Nevada, there are no other dark little lizards with many small black spots on the back arranged in longitudinal lines.

Comments: Secretive and often found beneath the bark of dead Joshua Trees, these lizards are generally thought to be nocturnal; however, they are primarily diurnal or crepuscular. During the heat of summer, they may become nocturnal.

Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)
Note the vertical pupil
Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)
Ventral scales large, square, and smooth
Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)
Gular fold pronounced
Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)
Shedding

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120910

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