Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This lizard occurs in the west of the United States and in southwestern Canada. It ranges from southern British Columbia (including Vancouver Island) southward through western Washington and western Oregon to west-central coastal California and the central Sierra Nevada (including the east side of Lake Tahoe basin) and Washoe County, Nevada (Vindum and Arnold 1997). It also ranges southward in the Rocky Mountains to northern Idaho and western Montana. Disjunct populations occurs in several areas in south-central Oregon, northeastern California, and northwestern Nevada (Stebbins 2003). The western edge of the distribution includes some small coastal islands (Stebbins 2003). The elevational range extends from sea level to around 3,200 m (Stebbins 2003).
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) This lizard ranges from southern British Columbia (including Vancouver Island) southward through western Washington and western Oregon to west-central coastal California and the central Sierra Nevada (including the east side of Lake Tahoe basin) and Washoe County, Nevada (Vindum and Arnold 1997). It also ranges southward in the Rocky Mountains to northern Idaho and western Montana. Disjunct populations occurs in several areas in south-central Oregon, northeastern Calofornia, and northwestern Nevada (Stebbins 2003). The western edge of the distribution includes some small coastal islands (Stebbins 2003). The elevational range extends from sea level to around 3,200 m (Stebbins 2003).

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Continent: North-America
Distribution: Canada (S British Columbia),  USA (Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Montana, California)  
Type locality: “Brasilia” (in error); modified to “San Francisco, California” by STEJNEGER 1902.
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 33 cm

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitat includes open areas in coniferous forest, grassy grown-over areas at margins of woodlands, clearcuts, and areas along streams; along coast this lizard sometimes occurs far from trees or major cover; it is associated with rock outcrops and talus in some areas (Lais 1976).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Habitat includes open areas in coniferous forest, grassy grown-over areas at margins of woodlands, clearcuts, and areas along streams; along coast this lizard sometimes occurs far from trees or major cover; it is associated with rock outcrops and talus in some areas (Lais 1976).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Mark-recapture studies in British Columbia indicated that individuals did not make long-distance moves between summer habitat and hibernation sites (Rutherford and Gregory 2003).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Feeds on insects, ticks, spiders, millipedes, and snails.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300

Comments: Nussbaum et al. (1983) mapped more than 200 locations where this species has been found.

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Global Abundance

10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 10,000. The species is often fairly common in suitable habitat (St. John 2002).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Hibernates in winter; duration of inactive period varies with local climate.

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Reproduction

Apparently mates in April and May. Litter size averages 4-6, depending on locality. One litter per year. Females sexually mature in 32-44 months in northern California.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Elgaria coerulea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2007

Assessor/s
Hammerson, G.A.

Reviewer/s
Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of the wide distribution, large number of populations, the species' tolerance of some forms of habitat disturbance, and the relatively stable population trend.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

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Population

Population
Nussbaum et al. (1983) mapped more than 200 locations where this species has been found. The total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 10,000. The species is often fairly common in suitable habitat (St. John 2002). The overall population is probably relatively stable in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance.

Population Trend
Stable
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: The overall population is likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance; there has surely been a decline in area of occupnacy and abundance, but the magnitude of the decline has been relatively small.

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Threats

Major Threats
The primary threat may be outright destruction of habitat. The species tolerates some habitat disturbances such as logging. Nussbaum et al. (1983) stated that the introduction of the cinnabar moth for weed (tansy ragweed) control may have adverse effects on northern alligator lizards. The moths are reported to be highly poisonous to the lizards.
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Degree of Threat: Medium

Comments: The primary threat may be outright destruction of habitat. The species tolerates some habitat disturbances such as logging. Nussbaum et al. (1983) stated that the introduction of the cinnabar moth for weed (tansy ragweed) control may have adverse effects on northern alligator lizards. The moths are reported to be highly poisonous to the lizards.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in many protected areas.
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Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: This species occurs in many protected areas.

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Wikipedia

Northern Alligator Lizard

The northern alligator lizard (Elgaria coerulea) is a medium-sized lizard that occurs on the North American west coast.

Taxonomy[edit]

This lizard was formerly known under the scientific name of Gerrhonotus coeruleus (Wiegmann, 1828), but is nowadays classed as the genus 'Elgaria'. There are four subspecies:

  • E.c. coerulea Wiegmann 1828: San Francisco alligator lizard
  • E.c. palmeri Stejneger 1893: Sierra alligator lizard
  • E.c. principis Baird and Girard 1852: Northwestern alligator lizard
  • E.c. shastensis Fitch 1934: Shasta alligator lizard

The subspecies E.c. principis is one of five species of lizards in Canada.

Description[edit]

Northern alligator lizards are medium-sized slender lizards. Adults reach a snout-to-vent length of about 10 cm (4 inches) and a total length of roughly 27.5 cm (11 in). They have a distinct skin fold on their sides, separating the keeled scales on the back from the smooth ventral scales. this skin varies in color, but can be brown and white or greenish yellow and brown. They are brownish in color and often have dark blotches that sometimes blend together into bands. the throat and mouth area of some young individuals can be yellow. The belly is light gray. The eyes are dark. Their typical diet includes crickets, mealworms, and moths, but they will also take larger prey, such as small lizards, and will even eat small baby mice if given the opportunity.

Reproduction[edit]

The northern alligator lizard lays about 7-10 eggs (Not live bearers; except for E. c. coerulea, which is a live bearer[1]), approximately 2 months after mating.[2] Northwestern alligator lizards young are born live and fully formed sometime between June and September. During the spring breeding season, a male lizard grabs on to the head of a female with his mouth until she is ready to let him mate with her. They can remain attached this way for many hours, almost oblivious to their surroundings. Besides keeping her from running off to mate with another male, this probably shows her how strong and suitable a mate he is. ( http://www.californiaherps.com/lizards/pages/e.c.principis.html)

E. coerulea shastensis
E. coerulea coerulea
E. coerulea

Distribution[edit]

Range of the Northern Alligator LizardRanges of
  •       E.c. coerulea,
  •       E.c. palmeri,
  •       E.c. principis, and
  •       E.c. shastensis

The Northern alligator lizard occurs along the Pacific Coast and in the Rocky Mountains from southern British Columbia through Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana south through Oregon to the coastal range and the Sierra Nevada in central California. As the map shows, the different subspecies have quite different ranges, with E.c. principis being the most widely distributed, whereas the E.c. coerulea subspecies occurs only around the San Francisco area.

The species is widely distributed along the Pacific coast and can be found from sea level up to elevation of about 3350 m (11000 ft). It is found in a variety of forested habitats and montane chaparral.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Stebbins, R., 2012
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Animals:Mammals,Birds,Reptiles,Amphibians
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Elgaria coerulea formerly was included in genus Gerrhonotus (see Good 1988). Four intergrading subspecies (coerulea, palmeri, principis, and shastensis) are recognized. See Good (1988) for taxonomic treatments of gerrhonotine lizards.

Molecular data support recognition of the family Anniellidae and anguid subfamilies Gerrhonotinae and Anguinae as monophyletic groups (Macey et al. 1999).

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