Species:

Uta stansburiana

Common Side-blotched Lizard

Subspecies I've seen:
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Western Side-blotched Lizard
U. s. elegans
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Nevada Side-blotched Lizard
U. s. nevadensis
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Northern Side-blotched Lizard
U. s. stansburiana
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Eastern Side-blotched Lizard
U. s. stejnegeri
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Plateau Side-blotched Lizard
U. s. uniformis
Subspecies:

Uta stansburiana elegans

Western Side-blotched Lizard

Cholla Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Side-blotched lizards are the most common lizards in the deserts of southern California.
Lost Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
This side-blotched lizard was probably drawing a little more attention to itself than it intended.
Pine Ridge Trail, Ventana Wilderness, Monterey County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
When I first posted this photo, I bemoaned my lack of certainty about the subspecies of Uta stansburiana, which caused helpful reader Jackson Shedd to point out that Smith and Brodie's guide lists 6 subspecies and includes range maps. These subspecies have been revised since then, and I'm currently using the subspecies as described in the most excellent Lizards of the American Southwest. And Jackson Shedd is still a helpful reader and friend.
Red Rock Canyon State Park, Kern County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Red Rock Canyon is yet another thriving nest of side-blotched lizards. This one is female (the males, like the one above from Cholla Garden, are more speckly).
Red Rock Canyon State Park, Kern County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Here is a vividly colored male at the height of its breeding-season colors. The scan doesn't do it justice, but this was one colorful lizard.
Butterbredt Spring, Kern County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
This is how to make baby side-blotched lizards. The male has a firm bite on the female's neck. She looks like she just wants to get it over with.
Alabama Hills, Inyo County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
This male was posing nicely among the beautiful and bizarre rock formations at Alabama Hills. Perhaps I should start a collection of lizards perched in rock crevices, which would include this side-blotched lizard from California, a fence lizard from Utah, and a gecko from Australia.
Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Having plenty of pictures of side-blotched lizards, I took this photo mainly to show off the purple flowers in the background. 2005 was a banner year for desert wildflowers in Death Valley and elsewhere in the southwestern U.S., and my wife's favorite color is purple.
Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
It was so hot when I was in Anza-Borrego that most of the lizards went into hiding for the day after about 9:30 AM. As usual in the desert, the side-blotched lizards were the first ones out in the morning, and as usual in the desert, they were out in force. This was one of the first ones I saw, at about 7:30 AM. I stopped taking pictures of side-blotched lizards as soon as the less widespread and less common lizards started coming out, such as granite spiny lizards and banded rock lizards. I did keep counting them though, and I ended up seeing 77 side-blotched lizards between 7:30 and 9:45.
Alabama Hills, Inyo County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Here's an adult female Side-Blotched Lizard looking warily at me from its boulder perch. There weren't too many lizards out on that morning, but you can usually count on there being a few side-blotched lizards anywhere in the California desert.
Red Rock Canyon State Park, Kern County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
This was probably the most obviously gravid female side-blotched lizard that I've ever seen. (For those unfamiliar with lizard lingo, "gravid" means "pregnant, but with eggs rather than babies".)
Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
On a warm spring morning, it seemed like every boulder had a male side-blotched lizard at the highest point, trying to impress the gals. Some of them seemed to have succeeded in this endeavor.
Pacific Crest Trail, Ranchita, San Diego County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
We had hiked for a half mile or so on a cool morning (low sixties) with no sign of reptilian activity. I was beginning to think that it was to be a herp-free morning when I spotted this pretty female on a pink rock. I later saw a few more side-blotched lizards and then a couple of very dark fence lizards.
Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County, California
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
This is the second-most obviously gravid side-blotched lizard I've photographed.
Between Mike's Sky Rancho and Rancho el Coyote, Baja California, Mexico
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
The islands off of Baja California are filled with a number of side-blotched lizard variants, many of which are considered separate species. But the peninsula itself has the same old Uta stansburiana that populates most of the U.S. southwest. This is not the most pristine specimen, with its underleg mites and tail stump.
Pima County, Arizona
Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
This is probably my favorite photo from this nine-day trip to southern Arizona, although this lizard is the most common herp in the area. He looks so proud, overseeing his dominion, while keeping a wary eye out for photographers and collared lizards.
Subspecies:

Uta stansburiana nevadensis

Nevada Side-blotched Lizard

Fort Rock State Natural Area, Lake County, Oregon
Nevada Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana nevadensis)
Fort Rock is a castle-shaped outcrop of rock in the middle of an otherwise flat sagebrush plain. I wanted to visit specifically in the hopes of finding Pygmy Short-horned Lizards, but was unsuccessful. I had to take a new-to-me subspecies of side-blotched lizard as a consolation prize.
Subspecies:

Uta stansburiana stansburiana

Northern Side-blotched Lizard

Kolob Canyons Viewpoint Trail, Zion National Park, Washington County, Utah
Northern Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana stansburiana)
This genus was named after Utah, where these colorful little lizards were first identified in 1852.

I am guessing that the Zion subspecies is U. s. stansburiana, but it might be U. s. uniformis. Please send me email if you know more.

Subspecies:

Uta stansburiana stejnegeri

Eastern Side-blotched Lizard

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Chaves County, New Mexico
Eastern Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana stejnegeri)
There wasn't much herp activity on a hot windy afternoon at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, but at least I finally got a photo of a local side-blotched lizard after several had escaped my camera earlier.
Bottomless Lakes State Park, Chaves County, New Mexico
Eastern Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana stejnegeri)
The next day I finally got a photo of one of the local male side-blotched lizards.
Big Bend National Park, Brewster County, Texas
Eastern Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana stejnegeri)
I saw surprisingly few side-blotched lizards in Big Bend National Park, compared to most U.S. deserts that I've visited. This chubby (probably gravid) female was the only one I saw one afternoon. Usually when I see one, I end up seeing dozens.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Randall County, Texas
Eastern Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana stejnegeri)
I only saw a couple of side-blotched lizards on a late afternoon hike in Palo Duro Canyon State Park also, but that was still two more lizards than I saw of any other species on a chilly afternoon.
Subspecies:

Uta stansburiana uniformis

Plateau Side-blotched Lizard

Dead Horse Point State Park, Wayne County, Utah
Plateau Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana uniformis)
The side-blotched lizards here had evolved a nice reddish color for camouflage against the beautiful red rock formations of this park, which is near the similar but more famous Canyonlands National Park.
Colorado National Monument, Mesa County, Colorado
Plateau Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana uniformis)
Plateau Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana uniformis)
Plateau side-blotched lizards tend to be less colorful than other subspecies (hence the uniformis), and these two were no exception. They do blend in nicely on the red rock formations though. The first photo is an adult male, and the second photo is an adult female.
Fisher Towers, Grand County, Utah
Plateau Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana uniformis)
Plateau Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana uniformis)
Here's another pair showing off how remarkably drab this subspecies is.