Degree of Threat: Unknown
Comments: Large-scale habitat destruction is the major threat to the continued existence of S. arenicolus in southeastern New Mexico (Painter 2004). Widespread use of herbicide for shinnery oak control and activities associated with oil/gas extraction have the greatest potential to cause significant sand dune lizard population extinction or reduction (Peterson and Boyd 1998, Painter 2004). The short-term effect of these activities is lizard population decline resulting from development of a grassland habitat that is unsuitable for the lizard (unless this new habitat retains large blowouts, in which case it is capable of supporting very small populations of Sceloporus arenicolus for at least ten years after treatment; e.g., see Snell et al. 1993, Gorum et. al., 1995). The long-term effect of these habitat modifications is unknown, but increased habitat fragmentation results in increased probability of extinction of individual populations (Painter 2004). In the mid-1990s, the BLM Roswell Resource Area placed a moratorium on chemical treatment of shinnery oak - sand dune habitat. However, long-term future of this moratorium is uncertain. Other activities with the potential for habitat destruction (i.e., ORV use, livestock grazing, and fire) have been little studied or are considered of lesser importance (Painter 2004).