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Crotaphytus bicinctores

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago
Crotaphytus bicinctores

 (Also known as the Mojave Black-Collared Lizard or the Great Basin Collared Lizard)




Photo by: Gary Nafis

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Sauropsida
Order Squamata
Family Iguanidae
Subfamily Crotaphytidae
Genus Crotaphytus
Species bicinctores




  • May grow to 13 inches in length.
  • Two defined black bands on either side of a thick white band around neck.
  • Large body size
  • Laterally compressed tail
  • Short, rounded snout
  • Granular scaleslar
  • Light brown or olive body with small spots of grey or pink.
  • Crossbanding of same colors as spots
  • Ventrally lighter



  • Blue to grey throat
  • Large dark patches on flanks



  • Not as flashy as males
  • Pregnant females develop patchy orange side markings



  • Resemble adults, but with more distinctive crossbanding patterns
  • Both sexes lack the blue coloring on throa
  • To avoid conflict with adult males during mating season, juvenile males mimic markings of pregnant females







                                     Photo by Gary Nafis: Greyish-blue coloring on throat                                                                                           Photo by William Wells: Juvenile


C. bicintores is very uncommon and can be found in the arid regions of the Great Basin Desert, the Mojave Desert, and the Sonoran Desert. It ranges from

southeast Oregon, Nevada to Arizona, and southeast California. In Idaho, these populations can be found at low elevations along the Snake River in the southwest

region of the state.














C. bicinctores live in arid desert habitat with sparse vegetation consisting primarily of sagebrush, saltbush, and bunchgrass. A key component of the preferred

habitat is the abundance of large rocks, which is a determinant of the density of the species within the area. These rocks, which typically range from 0.25 to 1.00

meters in diameter, are used for basking, perching, and protection. Rock quarrying and introduced non-native grassland into the habitat are major threats to the

C. bicinctores populations. Rock quarrying results in the removal of the large rocks that C. bicinctores selects for, which can potentially lower the density of the

population within the area. Introduced non-native grassland replaces the natural habitat of C. bicinctores, and can also cause habitat fragmentation.







The breeding season for C. bicinctores is from May to June, with hatching occurring during late summer. The female will typically lay between 3 to 7 eggs in a burrow,

sandy ground area, or under a large rock. After laying her eggs, the female provides no parental care for the offspring.






C. bicinctores are strong runners that have long hind legs that allow them to use bipedal locomotion, which is uncommon among desert lizards. However, unlike other

lizards in the Crotaphytinae family, C. bicinctores’ tail does not easily detach when escaping predation and will not grow back. Typically these lizards can be found perched

on large rocks where they can easily view predators or prey. Prey items for this species include large arthropods, invertebrates, and other lizards.



                                                      Photo by: Gary Nafis                                                                                                                                    


Scientific Study:


Richard R. Montanucci's 1983 study concluded that hybridization between the species Crotaphytus collaris baileyi and Crotaphytus insularis bicinctores can occur naturally

within a narrow hybridization zone, such as a canyon. Electrophoretic analysis was conducted on samples collected from both species in areas where they would interact.

The analysis indicated that of the two genetic markers tested for, the lizards carried homozygous alleles of both species or were heterozygous for either. Morphological

analysis of the populations also concluded that the hybrid lizards bore resemblance to both species. Coloration, head size, and oral melanin were all found to be different

in the hybrid lizards. Both the electrophoretic and the morphological analysis concluded that the hybrid offspring could produce viable young. This study disputed the

previous conclusion that the species mate selection, territorial behavior, and geographic isolation would prevent hybridization. The recommendation of Richard Montanucci

is to list bicictores as a subspecies of Crotaphytus insularis.


























Montanucci, R.R. 1983. Natural Hybridization between Two Species of Collared Lizards (Crotaphytus). Copeia 1983: 1-11.















Michelle Bird



























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