Greater Earless Lizard — Tattoo Artist’s Fantasy?
You may enlarge any image by clicking on it. Click again for a full screen image.
Today I’m featuring an image of a Greater Earless Lizard. These lizards actually have ears and can hear perfectly well, but their external ears are covered by a flap that makes them appear to be earless. They are medium size lizards, attaining a length of seven or eight inches including their tails. They are quite common. Indeed, they are among the most commonly sighted species in our local desert.
What makes them distinctive is their colors. They are among the most flamboyantly colored of all of the lizards I see regularly.
To my eyes it looks as if the lizard took leave of its senses and got an extremely weird tattoo, telling the tattoo artist to “use your imagination.”
This lizard’s brilliant colors reminds me, however, of how unimaginative we humans tend to be. It was only relatively recently that it occurred to anyone that dinosaurs — distant cousins of lizards — might be any color other than gray or green. Consequently, most books about dinosaurs showed gray or green behemoths lumbering about. But, there is no reason to believe that dinosaurs were drabber than lizards or their other close relatives, birds. Next time you see an image of a 40-ton sauropod or a tyrannosaur, think of this little lizard. Wouldn’t it have been an incredible sight to see one of those ancient monsters as brilliantly colored as is this Greater Earless Lizard?
By the way, if you enlarge today’s photo you’ll see a bright orange spot at the base of the lizard’s neck. Double click on the image and you’ll be in for a surprise. That’s not pigmented skin. No, that orange spot, when enlarged, reveals three parasitic mites. Lizards frequently carry these mites, which are to lizards what fleas are to dogs and cats.
Image made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 mm f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 160, f16 @ 1/160.