Urosaurus ornatus ornatus
Texas Tree Lizard
Guadalupe River State Park, Comal County, Texas
This lizard was perhaps overly reliant on its less than completely impressive camouflage as it lay spread-eagled on a flat rock in the center of the trail.
Urosaurus ornatus schmidti
Big Bend Tree Lizard
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, Jeff Davis County, Texas
I somehow avoided seeing any of these common lizards in or particularly near Big Bend National Park, but I saw these two and a few others a hundred miles north.
Urosaurus ornatus schottii
Schott's Tree Lizard
Saguaro National Park West, Pima County, Arizona
I saw but three of these ordinarily common lizards on this weekend of unseasonably cool temperatures in Tucson. One was on a rock. The second, on a log. The fellow pictured here was the only one actually in a tree. They aren't the most colorful lizards around, but they sure are camouflaged well on trees.
The tree lizards in this part of Arizona used to be placed in the subspecies U. o. linearis, but this subspecies has recently been merged with U. o. schottii, which was formerly considered confined to Mexico.
Willcox Playa, Cochise County, Arizona
Willcox Playa is a seasonally marshy ancient lake bed. When we visited it was dry as a bone, and the wildlife was less than abundant. A small number of these tree lizards were our only saurian companions.
Organ Pipe National Monument, Pima County, Arizona
This tree lizard relied on its excellent camouflage rather than running away when I drew near. But I saw it and took its picture, so I guess its excellent camouflage failed. Good thing I don't eat lizards.
Sedona, Yavapai County, Arizona
Most of the tree lizards I've seen in the "Red Rock Country" of this section of Arizona have been on boulders rather than trees. It's something of a game to take their picture, because they are camera shy but unlike many other lizards they tend not to run and hide. Instead, they skitter a few feet away and then stop on a different boulder.
South Mountain Park, Maricopa County, Arizona
On a cool but warming near-Spring morning, my sister and I went out for a hike in this large desert park surrounded by Phoenix sprawl looking for some local wildlife. We didn't see any large or spectacular animals, but early in the morning a lot of tree lizards were basking on the granite boulders.
Gomez Peak area, Gila National Forest, Grant County, New Mexico
We took our dogs
for a nice morning hike in the Gila National Forest. When we started the hike it was too cool for lizards, but by the time we returned it had warmed up enough that this tree lizard was basking on the trailhead sign.
near Silver City, Grant County, New Mexico
A few days later we took another morning hike. This time we started enough later that there were lizards everywhere. These tree lizards were the most common, but we also saw Southern Plateau Lizards
and Crevice Spiny Lizards
Mogollon Historic District, Catron County, New Mexico
Mogollon Historic District, also known as Mogollon Ghost Town, is the remnants of a once-thriving mining town. It is currently home to a thriving population of tree lizards. The town is at an elevation of 6800 feet, which shows the adaptability of this species that's also at home in the low deserts.
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Sabino Canyon is full of lizards, and Tree Lizards were the most common lizards in the lower elevations, near Sabino Creek. This well-marked male was one of the more cooperative ones.
near Animas, Hidalgo County, New Mexico
A colony of tree lizards festooned piles of lava rocks along the roadside, each lizard perched atop its own rock.
Alamo Canyon, Organ Pipe National Monument, Pima County, Arizona
This proud male is really decked out in his finest colors. I didn't see any swooning female tree lizards nearby, but perhaps because they all swooned into unconsciousness. Or maybe it takes more than just pretty colors to impress the modern savvy female tree lizard.
Urosaurus ornatus wrighti
Northern Tree Lizard
Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah
I saw three of these skittish lizards in the towering boulders and red rock cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park. All of them were on cliffs. None of them were on trees. This subspecies used to be called "Cliff Tree Lizard", but that was changed to "Northern Tree Lizard" at some point, maybe because thinking too hard about the name "Cliff Tree Lizard" just hurts your brain.
Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah
Another cliff, another "Cliff Tree Lizard". They are small lizards, but rare enough in this area to still be a good find. At least, they're rare compared to the similarly-sized side-blotched lizards