Mojave fringe-toed lizard
The Mojave fringe-toed lizard
is restricted to sand dunes and windblown sand habitats
in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of southern
California and extreme western Arizona. These unique
lizards possess several specialized adaptations for
living in fine windblown sand, including their namesake
fringed toes, which increase traction and running speed.
Sand dunes are relatively small and isolated ecosystems;
therefore, Uma populations are especially
vulnerable to local extinction due to human disturbance.
Even though this species has a fragmented distribution,
it is nonetheless widely distributed.
Description 5-7" (12.7-17.9
cm). Comblike fringe of pointed scales on trailing edge
of toes. Flattened body covered with velvety granular
scales. Dark bands under tail. Gray to white, with dark
eyelike spots; no lines over shoulders. Dark crescents
across center of throat. Black blotch on each side of
belly. Breeding adults have pink on sides and
yellow-green on belly.
Breeding Clutches of 1-4
eggs are laid in midsummer, probably more than 1 clutch
per season. Following dry winters little food is
available, so reproduction may not occur.
Habitat Windblown sand
dunes with low-growing vegetation.
Range Mojave Desert in
California; extreme w. Yuma County, Arizona.
Discussion Diurnal. This
species can move extremely fast across the loose sand of
its habitat. One specimen was clocked at a speed of 23
miles (37 km) an hour.