CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Panamint Alligator Lizard - Elgaria panamintina

(Stebbins, 1958)
Click on a picture for a larger view



Panamint Alligator Lizard Range Map
Range in California: Red


observation link



SoCalHerpsCover
iPhone App
Electronic Field Guide to the
Reptiles and Amphibians of
Southern California
Available Now at the
iTunes App Store.




Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard
Adult, Inyo County Adult, Inyo County
Panamint Alligator Lizard
Panamint Alligator Lizard
Panamint Alligator Lizard
Adult, Inyo County Adult, Inyo County Adult, Inyo County
Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard
  Adult, Inyo County  
Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard
Adult, Inyo County Adult, Inyo County Juvenile, Inyo County
© Brad Alexander
Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard Panamint Alligator Lizard
Adult, Inyo County. © Adam Clause. (Animal captured and handled under state Scientific Collecting Permit and released at point of capture.) Adults, Inyo County. © Adam Clause. (Animal captured and handled under state Scientific Collecting Permit and released at point of capture.) Adult, Inyo County. © Adam Clause. (Animal captured and handled under state Scientific Collecting Permit and released at point of capture.)
Panamint Alligator Lizard Great Basin Collared Lizard  
Adult underside, Inyo County

Western Alligator Lizards, genus Elgaria, have large rectangular keeled scales on the back that are reinforced with bone.
(Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata is shown here).

 
Habitat
Panamint Alligator Lizard Habitat Panamint Alligator Lizard Habitat Panamint Alligator Lizard Habitat
Habitat, 6,000 ft. Inyo County
Habitat, 6,300 ft. Inyo County Habitat, 6,000 ft. Inyo County
Panamint Alligator Lizard Habitat
Panamint Alligator Lizard Habitat
 
Habitat, 6,000 ft. Inyo County

Microhabitat, Inyo County  
Short Video
  Panamint Alligator Lizard  
  A large old Panamint Alligator Lizard crawls around in a brush pile at a desert spring in Inyo County, then jumps off and hangs from his tail and hind legs before dropping to the ground.  
Description

Size
3 5/8 - 6 inches long from snout to vent (9.2 - 15.2 cm).
Appearance
Alligator lizards, genus Elgaria, are members of the family Anguidae, a family of lizards found in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Large bony scales, a large head on an elongated body and powerful jaws probably give the lizards their common name. They are characterized by a slim body with short limbs and long tail. The tail can reach twice the length of its body if it has never been broken off and regenerated.

The Panamint Alligator Lizard is light yellow, beige, or gray with broad light or dark brown bands circling the top and sides, and white marks on the sides behind each band. The underside is cream colored with gray flecks. The tail is banded. The eyes are pale yellow. Male heads are broader and more triangular than that of females.

The dark bands of juveniles contrasts stronly with a light background.
Behavior
Secretive and not frequently seen, spending much time in dense rock piles and plant growth. Diurnal, crepuscular, and sometimes nocturnal.
Diet
Small invertebrates.
Reproduction
Probably lays eggs. Mating has been observed in May.
Range
Endemic to California.
Found in Inyo and Mono Counties in desert mountain ranges, including the Panamint Mountains, the White Mountains, the Inyo Mountains, the Nelson Mountains, and the Cosos Mountains. From 2,500 to 7,513 ft. (760 - 2,290 meters).
Habitat
A relict species inhabiting limited riparian areas in the desert, mostly rocky canyon bottoms near streams and springs, grown with creosote bush, sagebrush, and at the lower edge of the piñon-juniper zone. Found in dense vegetation near damp soil, and also in rocky talus outside of riparian areas.
Taxonomic Notes
Formerly Gerrhonotus panamintinus

First discovered in 1954 in the Panamint Mountains. Occurs about 10 miles from Elgaria multicarinata, but more closely related to Elgaria kingii, (found in Arizona) from which it was isolated during the drying of the deserts.

The results of Feldman and Spicer (2006, Mol. Ecol. 15: 2201–2222) indicate that E. panamintina is derived from within E. multicarinata.
Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Considered to be threatened due to alteration of its limited available habitat from mining, livestock grazing, and off-road vehicle use.

Taxonomy
Family Anguidae Alligator Lizards & Allies Gray, 1825
Genus Elgaria Western Alligator Lizards Gray, 1838
Species


panamintina Panamint Alligator Lizard (Stebbins, 1958)
Original Description
(Stebbins, 1958) - Amer. Mus. Nov., No. 1883, p. 2

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Elgaria - obscure - possibly named for an "Elgar" or a pun on "alligator."
panamintina
- Panamint Mountains, in east central CA

from Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained © Ellin Beltz

Alternate Names
Formerly Gerrhonotus panamintinus

Related or Similar California Lizards
E. c. palmeri - Sierra Alligator Lizard
E. c. shastensis - Shasta Alligator Lizard
E. c. principis - Northwestern Alligator Lizard
E. m. multicarinata - California Alligator Lizard
E. m. scincicauda - Oregon Alligator Lizard
E. m. webbii - San Diego Alligator Lizard
E. c. coerulea - San Francisco Alligator Lizard

More Information and References
Natureserve Explorer

California Dept. of Fish and Game

Biology, Ecology and Current Research

Stebbins, Robert C., and McGinnis, Samuel M.  Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Revised Edition (California Natural History Guides) University of California Press, 2012.

Stebbins, Robert C. California Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of California Press, 1972.

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.

Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Powell, Robert., Joseph T. Collins, and Errol D. Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. The University Press of Kansas, 1998.

Macey, J. Robert and Theodore Papenfuss."Herpetology." The Natural History of the White-Inyo Range Eastern California. Ed. Clarence Hall. University of California Press, 1991.

Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.



Organization
Status Listing
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife DFG:SSC California Species of Special Concern
Bureau of Land Management BLM:S Sensitive
USDA Forest Service USFS:S Sensitive


 

Home Site Map About Us Identification Lists Maps Photos More Lists CA Snakes CA Lizards CA Turtles CA Salamanders CA Frogs
Contact Us Usage Resources Rattlesnakes Sounds Videos FieldHerping Yard Herps Behavior Herp Fun CA Regulations
Beyond CA All Herps


Return to the Top

 © 2000 -