Dipsosaurus dorsalis Desert Iguana
Some other names for this species:
Crested Lizard, Desert Crested Lizard
Subspecies I've seen:
D. d. dorsalis
Northern Desert Iguana
Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis Northern Desert Iguana
Cholla Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, CaliforniaJune 21, 1998
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
I suspect this rather hefty desert iguana was a gravid female. She was the only desert iguana we saw in Cholla Garden, but further south towards Cottonwood Springs we saw many near the road.
Barrel Spring, Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, Imperial County, CaliforniaAugust 2, 1999
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
This desert iguana had climbed up into a mesquite bush to better sample its foliage.
Pinto Basin, Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, CaliforniaMay 19, 2001
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
This large adult was warming up in the morning (around 9 AM). It didn't bother moving as I got closer and closer shots, though it kept a wary eye on me. On its neck you can see the small crest that led to the older "crested lizard" moniker. That's really not much of a crest when compared with something like a basilisk, though.
Ridgecrest, Kern County, CaliforniaMay 17, 2002
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
We ran into a colony of tiny desert iguanas in the bushes around the excellent little Maturango Museum. They couldn't have been much more than hatchlings, perhaps 5 inches long including tail.
Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, Imperial County, CaliforniaJuly 2, 2006
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
As I drove across Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area on my way to Borrego Springs, I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite the above-110-degree temperature, the desert iguanas still weren't hot enough. Several of them were basking on the road, presumably for the additional warmth of the blistering pavement. Their extremely high body temperatures gave them tremendous speed, and each time I'd spot one and pull off the road to try to sneak up for a picture, it would rocket off into the desert. I chased this one around a creosote bush for at least ten minutes before finally giving up with only a few mediocre photos.
Borrego Springs, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 21, 2009
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
We stayed in Borrego Springs for nearly two weeks. Most mornings I would spend half an hour or forty-five minutes driving around the roads on the outskirts of town, hoping to see a horned lizard or two basking on the streets in the morning. I failed at this particularly quest, but I did come across a number of these impressive heat-loving iguanas instead.
North Algodones Dunes Wilderness, Imperial County, CaliforniaMay 1, 2009
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis) Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
Desert iguanas were out in numbers along the roadsides of Algodones Dunes (a.k.a. Imperial Dunes). Most of them did the typical desert iguana race-off-at-high-speed thang, but this fine fellow, who had apparently just emerged from a burrow, held its position for me as I snuck ever close with my camera and tripod.
Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, San Bernardino County, CaliforniaApril 30, 2010
Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)
This very young desert iguana was shyly peeking out from the edge of a bush along the trail to the dunes.
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