Eastern Collared Lizard — Hitting The Jackpot, Part II
You may enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a full screen image.
Last week I began the story of how Rene Clark and I hit the jackpot on our search for Eastern Collared Lizards. This post continues the story.
We had spent about 1/2 hour photographing the first lizard, a lizard so cooperative that he actually walked toward us and posed obligingly, until we literally ran out of ideas for photographs. Rene and I were overjoyed and we would have considered the day a grand success if we had seen nothing else to photograph. But, this lizard was just the opening act. We were walking down the trail from our first encounter and had progressed about 100 feet, with me in the lead, when Rene suddenly said “stop!” I stopped, looked down, and saw a second Eastern Collared Lizard perched on a rock no more than five feet away from me. Rene and I immediately began photographing this lizard, and this lizard was as cooperative as was the first one.
Adult male Eastern Collared Lizards are usually colored in hues of turquoise and gold and their colors can be spectacularly intense during the spring breeding season. This lizard had no turquoise on its body but was resplendent in gold.
It was one of the most beautiful lizards I’ve ever seen. There is no doubt that this is an Eastern Collared Lizard. But, what is its gender? Is this a female? A uniquely colored male? A juvenile?
I can’t say for certain. I’m dubious that this second lizard is a female. Female Eastern Collared Lizards tend to be petite, with heads that are much smaller in proportion to their bodies than is the case with males. This lizard has a large head, very typical of a male of the species.
I’m inclined to believe that this is either an immature male or, possibly, an adult male that simply lacks turquoise pigment. Most lizard species tend to show a lot of color variation from individual to individual, so much so that no two of the same species ever look exactly alike. That certainly could be as true with Eastern Collared Lizards as it is with other species.
But, whatever may be the explanation for this individual’s color, it is certainly beautiful.
Images made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens assisted by Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 125, f20 @ 1/160.