Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm a stick; don't see me... (quiz 4 u)

 I will hold my legs next to my side, and not move.
Rock as pillow, 'cause I'm tough.
 I believe this is a San Diego alligator lizard, Elgaria multicarinata webbii,
based on the distribution map here, and eye color.

If you check out that map, it's cool, 'cause I learned these guys
IN San Diego, then moved up north, RIGHT where they extend north.
=) An old friend.
Though this guy was LONG, but not big,
so I think "old" is inaccurate.

Because of my time spent inventorying herps,
I have a habit of looking at the tail of any lizard to see
if their tail is the original, or if it's regenerated.
If you see the nice pattern going all the way down the tail, it's original.
If the pattern basically stops at the tail and becomes just plain, it's regenerated.

QUIZ: So, what do you think? Original work, or re-tread?

This guy was right in the trail.
I 100% did NOT see it, but Bear did, and pointed it out.
Total stick impression.

I had been looking for mushrooms (in vain) to the side of the trail,
'cause that's where I've seen them, frequently.

Not now. Too dry.

But, it's never too dry for an alligator lizard.
Tough puppies.

And this creature NEVER MOVED during the photo shoot.

Good one, lizard! You won.
You're a stick, and we are leaving you alone.



  1. Great lizard! I think that tail's an original, tapering perfectly all the way to a pointy tip. Amazing accomplishment, especially if napping on hiking trails is a hobby.

    1. Good point. However, this particular guy is in the loop trail of a CLOSED campground, so frequency of passers-by is low. SO FAR...

    2. Oh, wait, does that mean the regenerated tails have a more blunt tip??

    3. In my experience (with skinks), it's pretty easy to see the break point. The taper frequently changes at that point, and there's often an interruption in coloration. The tip may be pointed, but probably not as sharply pointed as in a complete tail. If you have the lizard in hand, it's clear that the regenerated segment isn't a complete replacement. The caudal vertebrae don't fully regenerate, and the replaced segment is rubbery, lacking the muscular control of original segments.

    4. OMG, SUPER, super cool. Thanks SO much. Mega interesting. You are the Winner of the Smarty Pants of the Week Award!!

      I wonder if the replacement parts also have teeny tiny "fabrique en Chine" stickers anywhere...

  2. Replies
    1. Oh, no apologies necessary for puns. =) I appreciate them, and that one is extra-apt.


Cool people write inside rectangles....