Horned Lizard ID request

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kschnei1
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Horned Lizard ID request

Post by kschnei1 » September 27th, 2015, 10:56 am

Hi all,

We found a horned lizard in Garfield County, Utah on 24 September at Panguitch Lake - it was very exciting for me, as I've never encountered one of these lizards before! It appears there are only two species (?) in Utah, but I'm not sure which one this is... Can anyone give me an ID? This lizard was about 5-6 cm in length - is it possible to tell if it's a juvenile or adult?

Thanks!

Ken

Two linked images:

https://flic.kr/p/z2XZvo

https://flic.kr/p/z4MSHT

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Rancorrye
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Rancorrye » September 27th, 2015, 11:33 am

Its a short horned lizard. Looks like its a juvenile.

Rye

kschnei1
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by kschnei1 » September 27th, 2015, 12:07 pm

Thanks Rye!

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Rancorrye
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Rancorrye » September 27th, 2015, 12:32 pm

kschnei1 wrote:Thanks Rye!
No problem. Congrats on your first one.

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » September 28th, 2015, 7:51 am

There are three species in Utah: Greater Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi), Pygmy Short-horned Lizard (P. douglasii) and Desert Horned Lizard (P. platyrhinos) and four different kinds total (including subspecies) ever since they separated P. hernandesi and P. douglasii taxonomically in 1997.

Pygmy Short Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii) no subspecies recognized
found in the extreme Northwestern Utah corner near Idaho border in and near the Raft River mountains, Box Elder County Utah.
Very small adult size <2.5 inches SVL most under 2 inches SVL. max 4.25 inches total length, most are under 3.5 inches total length. Light colored dorsal stripe present, short tail noticeably less than body length, "duck face" shaped rostrum, heart shaped head, horns are small nubs. Viviparous.
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Mountain Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi hernandesi) "Hernandez's Short-horned Lizard"
Up to 4.5 inches SVL max 6.25 inches total length, most under 5 inches total length, Heart shaped head, large wide diastema (gap between "teeth") between middle two cranial horns, small short horns, tail less than half body length. Viviparous. Blood squirting from eye as a defensive tactic.
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Northern Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos)
Up to 3.5 inches SVL, up to 5.5 inches total length. long cranial horns appear more evenly spaced apart gaps about as wide as each horn with no distinct large gap in center, two center horns don't touch at base, horns less than half head length, shortened blunt face rostrum goes straight down in front of eyes, long tail as long or almost as long as body. Oviparous.
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Southern Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum)
Up to 4 inches SVL, up to 6 inches total length. long cranial horns appear more evenly spaced with no distinct large gap between center horns, two center horns don't touch at base, longer horns than Northern ssp. around half head length that are more closely spaced, shortened blunt face rostrum goes straight down in front of eyes, long tail as long or almost as long as body. Oviparous.
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kschnei1
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by kschnei1 » September 28th, 2015, 2:52 pm

Thanks so much Jeremy!! Awesome set of photos. So do you agree that my photos show P. hernandesi hernandesi?

Ken

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » September 29th, 2015, 10:18 am

kschnei1 wrote:Thanks so much Jeremy!! Awesome set of photos. So do you agree that my photos show P. hernandesi hernandesi?

Ken
Yes I concur with Rye's I.D. it is a young Short horned Lizard (P. h. hernandesi)

several key points for I.D.
Location, tail much shorter than body length (appears around half of body length), head shape (heart) and face profile, apparent size, faded or absent pattern of small paired spots, and near lack of cranial horns at juvenile stage all mark it as a Short Horned. Desert horned babies have obvious horns even when young, a longer tail, different head shape, and most have distinct dorsal patterns and banded tails.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Bpete » September 30th, 2015, 5:23 am

Nice pics and some great information on ID's. I have not seen any horned lizards since I was a youngster.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » September 30th, 2015, 11:39 am

Now that Ken has put them in the database we can actually see the photos on the thread, unsure why links to his Flicker never worked for pics.

Image
Image

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 2nd, 2015, 8:32 am

As far as I know, Phrynosoma douglasii doesn't occur in Utah. Its pretty much restricted to the Columbia plateau.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » October 2nd, 2015, 8:48 pm

The Columbia Plateau just so happens to nick the Northwest Corner of Utah
Image

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Rancorrye
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Rancorrye » October 3rd, 2015, 8:51 pm

Have douglasii actually been documented in Utah? Might be a fun chapter trip if they haven't...

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occidentalis
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by occidentalis » October 4th, 2015, 8:13 am

Montanucci recently published a taxonomic revision for this group (http://squamates.blogspot.com/2015/09/n ... short.html), and that has led to some changes in species numbers within Utah (e.g., P. brevirostris). He also documents P. douglasii in Box Elder Co.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » October 5th, 2015, 2:32 pm

occidentalis wrote:Montanucci recently published a taxonomic revision for this group (http://squamates.blogspot.com/2015/09/n ... short.html), and that has led to some changes in species numbers within Utah (e.g., P. brevirostris). He also documents P. douglasii in Box Elder Co.

Image
"The taxonomic arrangement in this study, with the exception of P. douglasii, is largely discordant with the proposed taxonomy from a previously published study based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data."
This last sentence of the Squamates blog post gives one pause...I suppose we will see if any of these morphologically based revisions hold up.


Ok so in days of yore, we used to have the Phrynosoma in Utah labelled thus:

Pygmy Short Horned Lizard (P. douglasii douglasii)
Mountain Short Horned Lizard (P. douglasii hernandesi)
Salt Lake Horned Lizard (P. douglassii ornatum)
Desert Short Horned (P. douglasii ornatissimum)
Eastern Short Horned Lizard (P. douglasii brevirostre)
Northern Desert Horned Lizard (P platyrhinos platyrhinos)
Southern Desert Horned Lizard (P. platyrhinos calidiarum)


for a total of 7 possible types in Utah; 2 species and 7 subspecies total
Outdoor Biology [Reptiles of Utah list section] Linda Pearson & Dallas Jackman, 1986 published by Granite School District.
Audubon Field Guide to North American reptiles and amphibians 1995

until P. hernandesi was elevated to species status in 1997 by Zamudio et al and much of the P. douglasii subspecies were lumped under that new taxon and P.douglasii was stripped of it's subspecies
"Zamudio et al. (1997) examined mtDNA variation in short-horned lizards throughout western North America and concluded that the Pacific Northwest segment of the population should be recognized as a species (P. douglasii) distinct from the species (P. hernandesi) represented in the remainder of the range. In addition, there was no support for the recognition of any of the nominal subspecies; thus each species is best regarded as monotypic."

Which dropped Utah horned lizards to four possible types; 3 species, 4 subspecies total

Pygmy Short Horned Lizard (P. douglasii)
Greater Short Horned Lizard (P. hernandesi)
Northern Desert Horned Lizard (P platyrhinos platyrhinos)
Southern Desert Horned Lizard (P. platyrhinos calidiarum)


Then Montanucci 2015 has revived the lost phenotypic varieties of P.douglasii and elevated them to species apparently
Utah horned lizards

Pygmy Short Horned Lizard (P. douglasii)
Mountain Short Horned Lizard (P. hernandesi hernandesi)
Salt Lake Horned Lizard (P. hernandesi ornatum) stablized population of hybrid origin
Eastern Short Horned Lizard (P. brevirostris)
Desert Short Horned Lizard (P. ornatissimum)
Northern Desert Horned Lizard (P platyrhinos platyrhinos)
Southern Desert Horned Lizard (P. platyrhinos calidiarum)


Which gives Utah 7 types again; 5 species, 7 subpecies total

A taxonomic revision of the Phrynosoma douglasii species complex
(Squamata: Phrynosomatidae)
RICHARD R. MONTANUCCI 2015 Zootaxa 4015 (1): 001–177
http://cnah.org/pdf/88397.pdf

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occidentalis
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by occidentalis » October 5th, 2015, 6:38 pm

For clarification, P. ornatissimum does not occur in Utah. In the Navajo Res. area, however, individuals are supposedly hybrids between P. hernandesi and P. ornatissimum.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » October 5th, 2015, 10:19 pm

delete, double posted...

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » October 5th, 2015, 10:19 pm

occidentalis wrote:For clarification, P. ornatissimum does not occur in Utah. In the Navajo Res. area, however, individuals are supposedly hybrids between P. hernandesi and P. ornatissimum.
Who knows about which old museum specimens are actually what now, compared to modern taxa, but P. ornatissimum specimens are in several collections listed as from Utah, as TAPAYA ORNATISSIMA GIRARD 1858 and P. douglasii ornatissimum Cope 1875, as well as making the State of Utah's "Reptiles of Utah" list 1986

"At least two of Baird's protégés worked with horned lizards. His French-born assistant, Charles Girard, found the type species of P. douglasii ornatissimum while on the expedition led by Captain Howard Stansbury in his Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah. Girard wrote a monographic essay on Phrynosoma in the appendix to this account. Besides it's value in sharing scientific knowledge on the lizards aqcuired to this date, the early 1850's, the quality of the lithographic illustrations is remarkable even today." Page 60, Horned Lizards Jane Manaster

the type specimen of P. d. ornatissimum is from a Utah territory expedition.
Type specimens of reptiles and amphibians in the U.S. National Museum
Volume 220 of Bulletin (United States National Museum), United States National Museum, Doris Mable Cochran, United States Government Printing Office, 1961
Girard U.S. exped. Herpet. 1858, 396-Bd. P.R.R. Rep. X. 1859, Whipple's route, reptiles 38-Bd. U.S. Mex Survey ii. pt. ii 1859, reptiles, 9.
as Tapaya ornatissima GIRARD 1858: 398
Phrynosoma ornatissima — COPE 1871: 305
Phrynosoma douglassii subsp. ornatissimum, Cope, Check list N.A. Bat. and Rep. 1875, 49.

"The subspecies of this same P. douglassii (ornatissimum) is principally found in the Sonoran region, but specimens are in the National Museum from Utah and Upper Colorado and Pole Creek (whereever that may be)."
Bulletin of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey ..., Volume 4 page 287

"Dr Stejneger (N. Amer. Fauna. No. 3, pp. 112-115) stated that the examination of a very extensive material has convinced me of the necessity of recognizing at least four different forms each with a definite and distinct geographical distribution viz. the typical Ph. douglassii (-pygmaea) from Oregon and Washington Ph. hernandesi douglassii (Auct. nec Bell) from the wooded plateau region of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona Ph. ornatissimum from the desert region of those territories and Ph. brevirostre (Gir. nec Cope) a small edition of Ph. ornatissimum from Wyoming and in general the drainage Basins of the Yellowstone and Platte rivers

Stejneger & Barbour in their Check List (1917) recognized these four species Phrynosoma douglassii with range given as Oregon and Washington Phrynosoma hermandesi from the plateau region of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona Phrynosoma ornatissimum from the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado and Phrynosoma brevirostre from Wyoming the Basins of the Yellowstone and Platte rivers. To these four Dr Stejneger recently has added a fifth form P. douglassii ornatum Girard for specimens from Salt Lake City Utah. Cope in the Crocodilians, Lizards and Snakes of North America (1900) referred all these lizards to three races which he says do not seem to me to be sufficiently distinct to represent subspecies These are Phrynosoma douglassii douglassii which he says is confined to the northern part of the Pacific district and then lists specimens from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Arizona Phrynosoma douglassii hernandesi characteristic of the central district generally and is found abundantly throughout the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains This he lists from Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, and Kansas Phrynosoma douglassii ornatissimum from the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah"
THE REPTILES OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA An Account of the Species Known to Inhabit CALIFORNIA AND OREGON WASHINGTON IDAHO UTAH NEVADA ARIZONA BRITISH COLUMBIA SONORA and LOWER CALIFORNIA BY JOHN VANDENBURGH
With One Hundred and Twenty eight Plates Volume I Lizards 8AN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA ACADEMY of SCIENCES November 23, 1922. THE REPTILES P.372-3 IGUANIDAE, Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by occidentalis » October 6th, 2015, 6:12 am

Read the Montanucci paper to understand what his revision means regarding the composition of P. ornatissimum as currently understood. Figure 6 on page 24 provides distributions of the taxa.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jeremy Westerman » October 7th, 2015, 10:24 pm

finally had a chance to read the entire paper. Fascinating stuff. So 4 species species total but we still end up with 7 different "types" of horned lizards in Utah over all; 4 kinds of Short-horned lizards plus a hybrid, and 2 kinds of Desert-horned lizards.
Greater Short-horned Lizards (Phrynosoma hernandesi)
1. Salt Lake Valley Short-horned Lizard (P. h. ornatum) most of Western Utah, in the Great Basin region in old Lake Bonneville are assigned to this revived taxon
2. Mountain Short-horned Lizard (P. h. hernandesi) occurs along the Wasatch range in South Central Utah and over the southern portion of the Colorado Plateau in the state of Utah
3. Colorado Plateau hybrid Short-horned lizard (P. hernandesi X P. ornatissimum) found along Arizona/Utah border to Colorado and Four Corners region
Pygmy Short-horned Lizards (Phrynosoma douglasii)
4. Pygmy Short-horned Lizard (P. douglasii) only occurs in Utah in extreme Northern Box Elder County North of the Great Salt Lake
Great Plains Short-horned Lizards (Phrynosoma brevirostris)
5. Great Plains Short-horned Lizard (P. brevirostris) occurs in the Uinta Basin and Upper Colorado River Basin and all along the edges of Utah Northward to the North Slope of the Uintas and adjacent to the borders of Southeast Idaho and the Southwestern corner of Wyoming.
Desert-horned Lizards (Phrynosoma platyrhinos)
6. Northern Desert-horned Lizard (P. platyrhinos platyrhinos) The Great Basin Desert in Western Utah, portions of the Wasatch range and into the Uinta Basin
7. Southern Desert-horned Lizard (P. platyrhinos calidiarum) The Mojave Desert in SW Washington County and East in Southern Utah adjacent to the Arizona/Utah border, then up into the Glen Canyon region of the Colorado Plateau


looks like several areas in Utah and other states could use a survey for this group. Too bad the season is pretty much over this year.
Rye, next season we should head up to Snowville and westward and document those Box Elder Co. P. douglasii better, get some more sorely needed N.W. Utah corner herp data points while we are at it maybe several range extensions for several suspected but as yet unconfirmed snakes and lizards up there...Chapter trip could definitely be brewing

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jimi » October 8th, 2015, 11:29 am

I'm still really hung up on this:
Quote:
"The taxonomic arrangement in this study, with the exception of P. douglasii, is largely discordant with the proposed taxonomy from a previously published study based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data."
It would be great to find an academic interested enough in this stuff, to get the funding and the students and the permits to actually challenge this purely-morphological arrangement with some molecular information. Info that's more current than just mtDNA.

What NAFHA could provide is sub-permittees to get photos and tissue samples (toe clips, blood smears, mouth swabs, whatever...) from animals we capture. Hell, we could probably even round up turds to fill out sample sizes - those are more useful as amplification techniques get better and better.

Does anyone know any "phrynosologists" with molecular expertise? This would be a great pairing of citizen science and academic science - I suspect the riskiest, most expensive part of such a study would be coming up with lots of little pancakes, from all over the state or region.

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 8th, 2015, 2:11 pm

Tereza Jezkova is top notch. Dan Mulcahy, Jef Jaeger, and Adam Leache also come to mind.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by occidentalis » October 8th, 2015, 2:54 pm

Jimi wrote: It would be great to find an academic interested enough in this stuff, to get the funding and the students and the permits to actually challenge this purely-morphological arrangement with some molecular information. Info that's more current than just mtDNA.
I guarantee numerous academics would be interested in testing these questions with multi-locus nuclear data. I think getting range-wide sampling is a non-trivial endeavor.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jimi » October 8th, 2015, 4:16 pm

I think getting range-wide sampling is a non-trivial endeavor.
Oh, absolutely, however one defines "range" (one putative species, one state, one desert, one nation, the entire range of the genus, etc). This "non-triviality" is why I brought up "deputizing" herpers (via whatever permits are required) to collect the required tissues.

Personally, I know a few spots I can just go out in the morning and be pretty sure I'm going to walk up some horned lizards. Some places (mostly in other states) I know they're real easy to cruise, too. Mostly though, for me here they're just charming incidental bycatch to whatever I'm targeting. If someone made a real study of it their results would probably be better, but still...not many guys I know pass themselves off as "the horny toad whisperer"!

Anyway, I wonder if we could find a taker for the molecular work - someone who'd find the money to do it (my state wouldn't pay for it I think - too many higher priorities, this is more of a gee-whiz deal, sorry; however they might give the permits). I have found quite a few short-horns lately, all over the state, in areas of sage-brush recently treated to remove junipers on behalf of sage-grouse. There is A TON of that work going on right now, all over the Great Basin, and it will continue for at least the next 5 years. This could be the start of a great time to survey horned lizards.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Mark Hazel » October 9th, 2015, 1:11 pm

Somewhat unrelated...

Does it strike anyone else as odd that this paper's "short horned" map shows specimens' squares in several low valley areas in W UT's Iron, Beaver, Millard, Juab, Tooele Cos (...but no squares in the higher-elevation habitats of the Cedars, Simpsons, House, Confusions, Indian Pks)? A pretty large proportion of those counties' squares are so low they seem the wrong habitat for short horneds.

I am far from a horned lizard expert, but I notice when I see one & can distinguish "short" from "desert." I have photovouchered the lower-elevation-adapted "deserts" in W UT all the way up to 7,000ft in Millard Co's House Range.

What allows short horneds to be found in the map's scattered low-elevation spots where it seems they have been found? Have those squares been placed accurately on that map?

I have spent lots of time above 5,600ft in the Deep Cks, House, Confusions, Minerals, Cedars, and never saw a short horned in those ranges. Only W UT ranges where I have seen that species happen to be East Tintics & Blacks. Of course, short horned could be present in some of those not-yet-vouchered W UT ranges. Not many people visit those, and probably even fewer who do visit also climb up the slopes & out of the washes.

Anyway, just considering short horneds' presence in the map's low elevation squares--it feels curious to me that they'd be there at all, essentially sharing habitat with desert horned. Has anyone asked & tried to answer: What is it about some lower-elevation spots that allows short horneds' presence there (where there's presumably greater competition with deserts)?

--Mark

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 10th, 2015, 9:39 am

Does it strike anyone else as odd that this paper's "short horned" map shows specimens' squares in several low valley areas in W UT's Iron, Beaver, Millard, Juab, Tooele Cos (...but no squares in the higher-elevation habitats of the Cedars, Simpsons, House, Confusions, Indian Pks)? A pretty large proportion of those counties' squares are so low they seem the wrong habitat for short horneds.
Cool observation Mark. I didn't notice in the paper (until you pointed it out) but I have similar observations from Snake Range, Snake Valley and Spring Valley. For whatever reason, short-horned lizards in these areas are restricted to the valley floors, often in greasewood and salt grass habitats. They do not occur in seemingly suitable habitat in the mountains.

The populations are also really scattered and fragmented compared to desert horned lizards. Ecologically, the short-horned lizards on the Wasatch seem to me very different than the short-horned lizards in the West Desert and Great Basin.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by occidentalis » October 10th, 2015, 7:34 pm

Interesting observations.

From page 22:
"The variability in morphology and color pattern noted in ornatum seems indicative of the postulated mixed ancestry of this form. It is generally accepted that introgressive hybridization is an important source of genetic variability for adaptive evolution. The past hybridization and introgression suspected between P. hernandesi and P. brevirostris appears to have enhanced the adaptive potential of ornatum, resulting in a genotype capable of tolerating the more thermally extreme and arid conditions of the Bonneville Basin as compared with the more moderate montane environment of the Wasatch Range inhabited by P. hernandesi."


I imagine the biogeographic history of ornatum relative to Lake Bonneville plays a large role in its current distribution.

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Re: Horned Lizard ID request

Post by Jimi » October 13th, 2015, 1:38 pm

Does it strike anyone else as odd that this paper's "short horned" map shows specimens' squares in several low valley areas in W UT's Iron, Beaver, Millard, Juab, Tooele Cos (...but no squares in the higher-elevation habitats of the Cedars, Simpsons, House, Confusions, Indian Pks)? A pretty large proportion of those counties' squares are so low they seem the wrong habitat for short horneds.
I've gotten short-horns this year in low parts of Iron and Beaver counties, very near to I-15. On the Greenville Bench (south of Greenville & Adamsville) and also the Parowan Front (another "benchy" area, just east of town). These were some of those sage-grouse habitat treatment areas I mentioned. One (Parowan) was a juniper mastication & seeding, the other (Greenville) was a roadside "greenstrip" harrow & seeding within sparse sage brush. Also saw a leopard lizard that Greenville site.

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