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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California





California Brush and Tree Lizards - Urosaurus

 










observation link

 

Small brown or grey lizards with small scales, typically found on trees, bushes, fences, walls, and rocks in the southern deserts and along the Colorado River. The three species can be distinguished by range and by a close examination of the scales on the back.


Long-tailed Brush Lizard - Urosaurus graciosus
Found on bushes in sandy areas in the southeast deserts, usually on a Creosote bush.
Brush lizards are small, diurnal, desert-dwellers, with a tendency to climb.
lizard lizard lizard
lizard lizard There is a wide band of enlarged scales down the middle of the back.

Compare with the split band of enlarged back scales of the Tree Lizard and with the small band of slightly-enlarged scales on the Black-tailed Brush Lizard, below.
map    
 
 
Baja California Brush Lizard - Urosaurus nigricaudus
Found on rocks and brush only in the peninsular ranges.
lizard lizard lizard
lizard lizard lizard
    There is a band of slightly-enlarged weekly keeled scales on the middle of the back.

Compare with the larger and more strongly keeled band of scales on the Long-tailed Brush Lizard and on the Tree Lizard.
map 
 
 
Tree Lizard - Urosaurus ornatus
Tree lizards are mostly found near the Colorado river in the extreme southeast.
They may be spreading west along irrigation canals in the Imperial Valley.
lizard lizard lizard
lizard lizard lizard
    There is a wide band of enlarged scales down the middle of the back that is split in the center by a band of smaller enlarged scales.

Compare with the unsplit back scales of the Long-tailed Brush Lizard and with the small band of slightly-enlarged scales on the Black-tailed Brush Lizard, below.
map
 
lizard backs



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