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This lizard was about 9” in length, found sunning itself on a rock. I have identified it as a Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporous occidentals). In checking references online, this lizard is shown in a number of colors and patterns…so I am open to alternative suggestions if anyone does not concur on the identification. That pictured has dark pattern markings on back and sides, as pictured.
The spotting was in Fletcher Canyon at about 8,000’ altitude in the Spring Mountains in Nevada. The area is mountainous Ponderosa pine forest. It was a warm day, and this lizard did not mind my close approach taking photos.
An interesting note in my research…in areas this lizard inhabits, Lyme disease is less prevalent. Studies have determined that ticks commonly bite this lizard. A protein in the Fence Lizard’s blood kills the microbe Lyme carrier in the tick’s belly, but not the tick itself. The tick cannot then spread the disease further. Studies have been looking into a possible treatment for Lyme related to this research.