Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona
Male. Maricopa County, AZ

Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona
Hatchling. Arizona
Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona
Apache Co., AZ
Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona
Female. Cochise Co., AZ
     
Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona
Male. Gila Co., AZ
Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona
Male. Gila Co., AZ
 

 EASTERN COLLARED LIZARD  Crotaphytus collaris  
   

DESCRIPTION: A medium-sized (up to 118 mm or 4.65" from snout to vent), plump-bodied lizard with a large head and two distinct, black collar markings on the neck. The front collar does not cross the throat. Coloration is usually gray-brown to blue-green with faint, soft-edged, yellow crossbands. The head and feet are often tinted with yellow and the back is usually marked with many light dots. This pattern reverses on the tail and hind limbs, becoming dark gray to blue-green dots on a light background. The front limbs usually lack spots. The underside is plain and pale. The inside of the mouth and throat are often black. The scales are small and granular. The tail is round in cross-section distinguishing this lizard from the similar Great Basin Collared Lizard. Females are duller in color and have orange markings on the sides during breeding season.

DISTRIBUTION: This lizard is distributed across most of central, northeastern, and southeastern Arizona. In our state it occurs at elevations ranging from 1,400' to about 8,500'.

HABITAT:
Found in communities ranging from Sonoran and Great Basin desertscrubs, through the grasslands and Interior Chaparral, and into the woodlands. Primarily an inhabitant of rugged terrain with numerous large rocks or boulders that can be used for basking spots and lookouts.

BEHAVIOR:
Diurnal. It is often seen basking atop large rocks or boulders in the mid-morning sun. It hibernates during the cold months of winter and late fall. At top speeds this lizard lifts the forelimbs off the ground and runs on its hind limbs. Like other collared lizards it is territorial and aggressive to other males. It does not hesitate to bite when captured and it can easily draw blood with its powerful jaws. Unlike many of our lizards collared lizards can not cast off and regenerate the tail.

DIET:
It uses its powerful jaws to capture grasshoppers, beetles, other insects, spiders, lizards, and small snakes. It also occasionally eats plant material including berries, leaves, and flowers.

REPRODUCTION: The Eastern Collared Lizard lays a clutch of up to 14 eggs in spring or summer. It hybridizes with the Great Basin Collared Lizard in areas where their ranges meet.

By Thomas C. Brennan


Brennan, T. C., & A. T. Holycross. 2006. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Phoenix, AZ

Brennan, T. C., & A. T. Holycross. 2005. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Maricopa County. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Phoenix, AZ

Degenhardt, W. G., Painter, C. W., and Price, A. H.. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque.

Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.


Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) Arizona Range Map


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