Cophosaurus texanus — Greater Earless Lizard
Subspecies I've seen:
C. t. scitulus
Chihuahuan Greater Earless Lizard
Cophosaurus texanus scitulus — Chihuahuan Greater Earless Lizard
Earless lizards have no external ear openings. This seems to be an adaptation so they don't have to worry about getting sand in their ears when they burrow in to escape. In the Tucson area, these lizards are remarkably similar in appearance and behavior to the zebra-tailed lizards, but occupy a different vertical niche: zebra-tailed lizards abound on the desert floor, whereas these earless lizards live higher, up in the foothills.
On an overcast afternoon in the monsoon season not too many lizards were out and about in the gorgeous red rock desert of Sedona, but we saw a few of these earless lizards strutting their stuff. Their stuff generally consisted of wagging the tail above the body, then dashing twenty yards away in half an instant. Fortunately, I was able to sneak up on a couple of them for these close-ups.
While out looking for GIla Monsters, Roger Repp and I took a brief side trip up an untried rocky road. There wasn't much happening up there, but there were a few shy lizards perched here and there.
Here's another beautiful adult male, surveying its territory from atop the highest rock in the immediate vicinity.
The orange markings (and fat belly) show this to be a gravid female.
I'm not sure whether this young lizard had its mouth open as a way to cool itself off, or whether it had some sort of jaw injury. It looked healthy enough, so I lean towards the former.
The cover of the most excellent Lizards of the American Southwest shows a brightly colored Chihuahuan Greater Earless Lizard from Big Bend National Park. Perhaps it was taken at the Grapevine Hills Trail, which was crawling with these lizards, many of them showing off their breeding season finery.
A juvenile and an adult male overseeing the trail from nearby rocks on an overcast afternoon.
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