2.25 - 3.5 inches long from snout to vent (5.7 - 8.9 cm). (Stebbins 2003)
The largest subspecies of Western Fence Lizard. Appearance
A fairly small lizard with large overlapping keeled scales with spines on them on the back and sides.
Scales on the backs of the thighs are mostly keeled.
Color and Pattern
Color is brown, gray, or black with blotches.
Sometimes light markings on the sides of the backs form stripes or irregular lines, and sometimes dark blotching may form irregular bands.
The rear of the limbs is yellow or orange.
The sides of the belly are blue.
Male / Female Differences
Males usually have a nearly entirely blue belly and throat, enlarged postanals, enlarged femoral pores, and a swollen tail base.
Some scales on a male's back become blue or greenish when he is in the light phase.
Females have faint or absent blue markings on the belly, no blue or green color on the upper surfaces, and dark bars or crescents on the back.
Juveniles have little or no blue on the throat and faint blue belly markings or none at all.Defense
The tail detaches easily to distract a potential predator allowing the lizard to escape.Diet and Feeding
Eats small, mostly terrestrial, invertebrates such as crickets, spiders, ticks, and scorpions, and occasionally eats small lizards including its own species.
Courtship and copulation occur in late spring or early summer, after snows melt.
Egg laying occurs 2 - 4 weeks after copulation.
Females dig small pits in loose damp soil where they lay 1 - 3 clutches of 3 - 17 eggs usually May to July.
Eggs hatch in about 60 days, usually from July to September.Habitat
Open, sunny, rocky areas in high-elevation forests, especially areas with large rock outcrops or rock slides.