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Mountain Spiny Lizard

Mountain Spiny Lizards have black edged scales that overlap like shingles to form a armor-like pattern on the tops of their bodies. The center of the scales are lighter in color and often have a pink or bluish green sheen. They have a wide black collar which is usually edged with a pale band in the back. They grow to 4.5 inches (body length) and have a long, straight tail that can add another 4 inches to the lizards length..

Natural History

In the U.S., the Mountain Spiny Lizard is found only in southeastern portion of Arizona. As their name implies, they live in mountain areas in rocky canyons and hillsides in oak and pine forests above 5,000 feet in elevation. In the lower elevation of their range they tend to dwell near streams and canyon pools. The lizard occasionally climbs trees, but is more often found perching on boulders.

The lizard at right was photographed on Mount Graham in the Pinaleno Mountains.

Mountain Spiny Lizards feed on insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, ants and wasps as well as spiders. Both male and female lizards are territorial and will use displays such as push ups or by extending their throat flaps to ward off intruders. They will also charge and bite other lizards who don't heed these warnings. The lizards seem to have little fear of humans. If you startle one, stand still for a minute, the lizard will likely come back to investigate you..

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