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Common Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Lizards Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
 
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)

General Description: These fast, light-colored lizards are found in open sandy and open gravel areas. They have a banded tail that they often wave in the air, and the bands completely encircle the tail.

Taxonomy: Phrynosomatid Lizard Family.

Technical Description: Light-colored lizards to about 8 in. (20 cm) total length. The overall color is tan to light brown with two dark bars on the side of body near midbody. The tail has black bands the completely encircle the tail (compare to earless lizards). The head is wedge-shaped, and the scales are fine and smooth. Zebra-tails have external ear openings present (compare with earless lizards).

Common Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Note black and white bands on tail

 

Zebra-tails look similar to Earless Lizards (which occur in Arizona). In Zebra-tails, the black bands completely encircle the tail, while in earless lizards, the black bands are on the underside of the trail. Zebra-tails also have external ear openings, which earless lizards do not.

Diet: Carnivorous, eating mostly insects, spiders (arthropods in general), some plant material, and occasionally other lizards.

Habitat: Washes, sandy areas, and open gravel flats with few plants where they can escape predators by running quickly.

Zebra-tail Lizard
Breeding female

Range: Southern and western Nevada, southeastern California, southern Arizona, and northern Mexico.

Comments: These lizards often curl their tail upward (revealing bold black and white barring) and waves it side-to-side before running. Also holds tail up when running. Curling the tail up may cause predators to attack their tail, which comes off, allowing the lizard to escape.

Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) If you were a tasty bug or a little fly, this might be the last face you ever see!
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard on a sand dune
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard male
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard female
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard female
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Even sand-loving Zebra-tailed Lizards like a good lookout perch
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra tail on lookout
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Catching lizards with a noose ensures the tail is not damaged
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Hatchling or juvenile
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) more to come ...

 
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 121118

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