Sceloporus jarrovii — Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard
Some other names for this species:
Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard, Yarrow Spiny Lizard
Chiricahua National Monument, Cochise County, Arizona—May 13, 2000
These lizards are extremely common on the weird and wonderful rock formations in the Chiricahua mountains. The darker individual in the first photo is probably a male, where the lighter one in the second photo is probably a female (I shoulda used my flash, oh well). Like many other lizard species that live in seasonally cold climates, Mountain Spiny Lizards give birth to live young.
The various mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona are often called "Sky Islands" because, like islands in water, each has a mostly self-contained ecosystem separated from similar ecosystems by difficult-to-cross large distances. These spiny lizards are one of the species that live in different "Sky Islands", but nowhere in between. At one time these lizards were spread across this entire area of Arizona, but over geologic time they have been separated into these distinct populations. Ramsey Canyon is in the Huachuca mountains, a separate "Sky Island" from the Chiricahua mountains whose lizards are pictured earlier on this page.
The top two lizards pictured here are youngsters. The bottom one is a large adult.
Carr Canyon is also in the Huachucas, close to Ramsey Canyon but at a higher elevation.
These abundant lizards are the main food source for one of the snakes that people travel across the country or even world to see, the Twin-spotted Rattlesnake.
At the same spot three years later, the spiny lizard population had not visibly diminished. Nearly all of the ones I saw were tiny babies like these.
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Brennan, T. C. and Holycross, A. T. 2006. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Degenhardt, W. G., Painter, C. W., Price, A. H. 1996. Amphibians & Reptiles of New Mexico
- Monday, D.C., Dobolek, R. 1999. Arizona Wildlife Views, Special Edition
- Smith, H. M. 1995. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and Canada
- Smith, H. M., Brodie, E. D. Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition