occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Range encompasses the desert side of the Peninsular Ranges of southern California, north to the northern slope of the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs, and much of Baja California, southward to the southern margin of the volcanic Magdalena Plain (McGuire 1996, Grismer 2002, Stebbins 2003). In Baja California, the range includes Tecate Peak near the U.S.-Mexican border, and the western foothills of the Peninsular Ranges, and areas near El Rosario, but the species is absent from most of the western margin of the Baja Peninsula (Grismer 2002). Elevational range extends from near sea level to around 4,000 feet (1,094 meters) (Stebbins 2003).
Distribution: USA (California), Mexico (Baja California)
Type locality: "Guadelupe Canyon, Juarez Mountains, Baja California".
Differs from all other CROTAPHYTUS except C. INSULARIS and C. RETICULATUS by the presence of widely separated posterior collars; differs from all other species of CROTAPHYTUS by the presence of slender, white transverse dorsal body bars; differs further from C. RETICULATUS, C. COLLARIS, C. NEBRIUS, and C. DICKERSONAE by the absence of black oral melanin; differs further from C. RETICULATUS, C. COLLARIS, and C. NEBRIUS by the presence in adult males of a strongly laterally compressed tail, a white or off-white dorsal caudal stripe, a pale tan or white patternless region on the dorsal surface of the head, and enlarged dark brown or black inguinal patches (vs. small patches of C. NEBRIUS and some C. COLLARIS); differs from C. INSULARIS by its broader process of the premaxilla and its more strongly developed posterior collar (McGuire 1996, which see for further information).
Comments: This lizard inhabits rocky areas in arid and semiarid habitat, generally with scant xerophytic vegetation, including hillsides, alluvial fans, canyons, and lava flows (McGuire 1996, Grismer 2002). Eggs are laid presumably underground or under rocks.
Habitat and Ecology
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.
Comments: Eats arthropods, small lizards, and sometimes plant material.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Comments: McGuire (1996) mapped about 85 collection localities.
10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 10,000.
Life History and Behavior
Comments: Seasonal activity begins in March-April.
Eggs presumably are laid in late spring-summer. Members of this genus have the potential of depositing two clutches of eggs per year (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Crotaphytus vestigium
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance probaby are relatively stable.
Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%
Degree of Threat: Low
Comments: No major threats have been identified.
Baja California collared lizard
The Baja California collared lizard (Crotaphytus vestigium) is a large-bodied species of lizard with a broad head, short snout, granular scales, and two distinct black collar markings. The collar markings are separated at the dorsal midline by more than 12 pale scales. It is tan to olive colored with broad dark crossbands on its body. Adults are between 6.9 and 11.2 cm long. Young lizards look similar to adults, but with more distinct banding. The males of this species have enlarged postanal scales, a blue-grey throat and large dark blotches on their flanks.
The Baja California collared lizard is uncommon. It is a powerful bipedal runner. Adults can inflict a painful bite. It prefers rocky areas, especially washes.
- This article is based on a description from "A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Coastal Southern California", Robert N. Fisher and Ted J. Case, USGS, http://www.werc.usgs.gov/fieldguide/index.htm.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: A phylogenetic analysis by McGuire (1996) concluded that C. bicinctores, C. insularis (confined to Isla Angel de la Guarda, Mexico), and C. vestigium are distinct species; previously they had been regarded as conspecific in various combinations by some authors.
Crotaphytus fasciolatus Mocquard, 1903 is a senior synonym of C. vestigium Smith and Tanner 1972 but, because Mocquard's name has not been used for these lizards for several decades and has been regarded as a junior synonym of Gambelia wislizenii, the name Crotaphytus fasciolatus should be suppressed in order to maintain nomenclatural stability (McGuire 1996). McGuire (2000) formally proposed conservation of the name C. vestigium. Savage opposed this petition while Etheridge supported it (Bull. Zool. Nomen., 58:59-60, 2001). ICZN (2002) conserved the name C. vestigium and suppressed the name C. fasciolatus.