Monday, March 10, 2014

CA Alligator Lizard ~ 03/10/14 ~ Midpen Preserve

We saw several alligator lizards this day.  Most of them were smaller with various patterning, but this one was huge.  Note the long tail that looks like it's never broken off, which it apparently does at the drop of a hat.  I've never seen this personally, but I trust what I've been told.  The cool temperatures, especially in the shade under the trees, left most of the reptiles we found kind of dozy and easy to approach.  Usually, I find it near impossible to catch a picture of an alligator lizard.

I should note, I base all my herp IDs on Gary Nafis' California Herps website.  Ya, I know, I complained bitterly when I first found it 5 years ago, because of the impossible-to-decipher-by-looks-alone way herps are classified.  It's not Gary's fault.  Bar none, he's created the best herp site for CA out there.  It's up-to-date, extremely thorough, and easy to use.  There seems to be an unusual amount of funding to do PCR-crap (oh, did I say that?) on herps.  It's like all the university herp folks are in a race to see who can reclassify the most spp.  I'm sure there's historical biology precedent as to why this is, but I just find it perplexing.

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