A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii
Commonly called “blue-belly” or “swift”, these are probably the most common and commonly seen lizards in California. Black, gray or brown above with dark blotched pattern. Dorsal scales are keeled and pointed so skin looks rough or spiny. Both adult males and females have blue ventral markings with orange or yellow on the undersurface of legs. Sometimes have blue throat patches. Males are usually more brightly colored than females. In a behavior typical of iguanid lizards, they display their ventral color by head bobbing and pushups. This territorial display serves to warn off other males and advertise the lizard’s good health and reproductive fitness to nearby females. Reproduction: Oviparous. 1-3 clutches of 3-17 eggs laid between April and July. Hatch July-September. Food: Insects of various kinds, spiders. Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii is a subspecies of the Western fence lizard. This taxon, S.o. bocourtii, is found in the state of California, from Sonoma County south to Santa Barbara County. This subspecies is in the family Phrynosomatidae, North American spiny lizards] An alternative name for this subspecies is Coast Range fence lizard. The subspecific name, bocourtii, is in honor of French herpetologist Marie Firmin Bocourt. It seemed agitated and inflated it's throat and started doing push ups. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coast_... this picture is very similar to my spotting. According to this link the spotting could be coast Fence Lizard. possibly courtship colors.
Has adapted well to human habitation. Makes use of woodpiles, decks, fences, and buildings as well as the chaparral, grassland and woodland that are its natural habitat. Prefers such areas with rock outcroppings or fallen trees. Principal methods of defense are camouflage, speed, and the ability to leave a briskly wiggling portion of its tail behind while the lizard makes its escape. Care should be taken when handling these animals as the tail is quite easily shed. It will eventually grow back but in the meantime the lizard is without this very effective defense. Diurnal.
Anoles are rare in California and description does not fit that of Alligator Lizard according to Cindy who spotted one very recently. http://www.backyardnature.net/n/09/09042... http://www.wildherps.com/species/S.occid... http://www.californiaherps.com/lizards/p...