Common Side-blotched Lizard

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It’s that time of year when reptiles, particularly lizards, are a common daytime sight.  When I take my desert walks these days I encounter a lizard every few yards.

Common Side-blotched Lizards are as common as their name implies.  They are small and graceful little reptiles.  Typically, one of these lizards is about six or seven inches long, including its tail.  I photographed a female the other day.  She was doing what these lizards love to do in the early morning hours, basking on a rock as she allowed the sun to raise her body temperature.

These lizards bear a physical resemblance to other species, such as Ornate Tree Lizards.  However, they are easily identifiable by the dark blotch that each of them has just behind its foreleg.  Males of this species are more colorful than are the females and have brightly colored necks.  I’ve read that a male’s necks comes in one of three colors: blue, yellow, and orange.  Interestingly, the orange-necked males are more aggressive than are the yellow- and blue-necked males and therefore, more successful at finding mates.  One would think that eventually, natural selection would favor the orange-necked lizards over the blues and yellows, but for some reason, that isn’t the case.

Image made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 160, f18 @ 1/160.

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