Taken at Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum
using a Canon Powershot SX10IS
A large lizard with a long tail, stocky limbs, and a small, blunt head. The back is usually gray to brown with white dots surrounded by reddish brown reticulations. The lower sides are cream to tan with reddish brown dots or dashes. Adults have a rust colored patch on the side of the belly during breeding season. Red-brown spots merge together to form bands on the tail. the tail is taller then it is wide. A row of enlarged, ponied scales runs down the the mid-line of the back.
Found in the Mohave and lower Colorado River desert scrubs and sometimes in Arizona Upland Desert-scrub. Frequents flat-lands with sandy or clay soils, dunes and gently sloping bajadas.
Active on very hot days, even when most other lizards are undercover. A ground dweller that will occasionally climb bushes to retrieve flowers and leaves, particularly the small yellow flowers of the creosote bush. A very fast runner that often seeks refuge in burrows when frightened. Primarily herbivorous, they will also eat insects and occasionally carrion.
Breeds April to July and lays a clutch of up to 8 eggs in late spring or summer.
This guy visits my back yard (Marana,AZ) every afternoon feeding on the blooms that fall of my desert willow.