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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California





Comparison of Western Fence Lizards - Sceloporus occidentalis,
with Sagebrush Lizards - Sceloporus graciosus,
Found in California

 









observation link

 
Fence Lizards have larger keeled scales on the back than Sagebrush Lizards.
     
fence lizard and sagebrush lizard comparison fence lizard and sagebrush lizard comparison  
Dorsal view - Common Sagebrush Lizard, Sceloporus graciosus, on the left, Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis, on the right. Note the larger dorsal scales on the Fence Lizard.
© Patrick Briggs
Head view - Common Sagebrush Lizard on the left, Western Fence Lizard on the right. © Patrick Briggs  
sagabrush lizard scales western fence lizard scales  
Sagebrush Lizards have overlapping scales with sharp spines on the back. The Western Fence Lizard has larger scales with longer spines on the back.  
 
Fence Lizards have Keeled scales on the back of their thighs.
Sagebrush Lizards have granular scales on the backs of their thighs.
     
fence lizard and sagebrush lizard comparison keeled thighs Northern Sagebrush Lizard
Comparison of the rear thighs of a Common Sagebrush Lizard - on top, and a Western Fence Lizard - on the bottom.

Note the granular scales on the Common Sagebrush Lizard and the keeled (and orange) scales on the Western Fence Lizard.
Close-up of the keeled scales on the rear thigh of a Western Fence Lizard.



Close-up of the granular scales on the rear thigh of a Northern Sagebrush Lizard.
 
Sagebrush Lizards Have a Black Bar on the Shoulder.
     
Northern Sagebrush Lizard Western Sagebrush Lizard Northern Sagebrush Lizard
Sagebrush Lizards have a black mark on the sides in front of the front legs that is not present on Western Fence Lizards.
San Joaquin Fence Lizard Coast Range Fence Lizard Coast Range Fence Lizard
Western Fence Lizards
     
Sagebrush Lizards Have Rusty Coloring in the Armpits.
     
Western Sagebrush Lizard lizard  
Sagebrush Lizards sometimes have rusty coloring behind the front legs
which is not present on Western Fence Lizards.
 
Great Basin Fence Lizard Great Basin Fence Lizard  
Western Fence Lizards  
     
Western Fence Lizards Have Yellow Coloring on the Back of the Thighs.
     
Coast Range Fence Lizard fence lizard Northwestern Fence Lizard
Western Fence Lizards usually have yellow or orange coloring on the
back of the thighs which is not present on Sagebrush Lizards.
  Northern Sagebrush Lizard  
  Sagebrush Lizard  
     
Western Fence Lizards are a bit Larger than Sagebrush Lizards.
     
fence lizard and sagebrush lizard comparison fence lizard and sagebrush lizard comparison  
Western Fence Lizards are larger than Sagebrush Lizards:

Northern Sagebrush Lizard (left)
Great Basin Fence Lizard (right)
in Inyo County
Ventral view - Western Fence Lizard on the left, Common Sagebrush Lizard on the right. Note the yellow on the back of the thighs on the Western Fence Lizard.
© Patrick Briggs
 
     

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