CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California





California Horned Lizards - Phrynosoma

 










observation link

 

Also known as Horny Toads.

Small, wide, flattened, lizards, with spiked scales on a rounded body, and horns surrounding a large head. Slow-moving, tending to run short distances, then hiding by blending in to the surroundings.

Active in daytime. Typically found in open sandy areas in deserts, chaparral, grassland, often near ant hills. Often seen basking on asphalt roads or low rocks in the morning or afternoon.


Blainville's (Coast) Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma (Anota) coronatum
lizard lizard map
 
Flat-tailed Horned Lizard  Phrynosoma (Anota) mcallii
lizard lizard
Found in areas with fine wind-blown sand in the Colorado desert in the southeast corner of the state. The dark line down the middle of the back will distinguish it from the Desert horned lizard.   A very fast runner. Can be mistaken for other fast lizards such as Fringe-toed lizards.

Desert Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma (Doliosaurus) platyrhinos
Two subspecies occur in California.
lizard lizard map
Southern Desert Horned Lizard
Phrynosoma (Doliosaurus) platyrhinos calidiarum
Northern Desert Horned Lizard
               Phrynosoma (Doliosaurus) platyrhinos platyhrinos
Red: Southern Desert Horned Lizard
Blue: Northern Desert Horned Lizard

Pygmy Short-horned Lizard - Phrynosoma (Tapaja) douglssii

Found only in the far northeast corner of California, typically in forest clearings and sagrebrush deserts.
lizard lizard map
    Red: Potential Range
Blue dots: Areas from which some museum specimens were taken
     
                 Comparison of Blainville's (Coast) Horned Lizard with Desert Horned Lizard  (based on Stebbins, 2003)
Coast Horned Lizard fringe Coast Horned Lizard fringe Coast Horned Lizard fringe
   Blainsville's Horned Lizards have 2 rows of pointed fringe scales on the lower part of each side of the body.
Southern Desert Horned Lizard Southern Desert Horned Lizard Southern Desert Horned Lizard
    Desert Horned Lizards have only 1 row of fringe scales on each side of the body
Coast Horned Lizard fringe Coast Horned Lizard fringe Coast Horned Lizard fringe
    Blainsville's Horned Lizards have 2 or 3 rows of enlarged pointed scales on each side of the throat.
Coast Horned Lizard fringe Coast Horned Lizard fringe Coast Horned Lizard fringe
    Desert Horned Lizards have only 1 row of slightly enlarged scales on each side of the throat.
 
 

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