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Sceloporus poinsettii BAIRD & GIRARD, 1852

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Higher TaxaPhrynosomatidae, Sceloporinae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesSceloporus poinsettii poinsettii BAIRD & GIRARD 1852
Sceloporus poinsettii amydrus WEBB 2006
Sceloporus poinsettii axtelli WEBB 2006
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis SMITH & CHRAPLIWY 1958
Sceloporus poinsettii polylepis SMITH & CHRAPLIWY 1958 
Common NamesE: Crevice Spiny Lizard
S: Lagartija de las Grietas
poinsettii: Northern Crevice Spiny Lizard
macrolepis: Western Crevice Lizard
polylepis: Southern Crevice Lizard
G: Stachelleguan 
SynonymSceloporus poinsettii BAIRD & GIRARD 1852
Sceloporus poinsettii — SMITH 1939: 223
Sceloporus poinsettii — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 125
Sceloporus poinsettii — STEBBINS 1985: 127
Sceloporus poinsettii poinsettii — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 104
Sceloporus poinsettii — LINER 1994
Sceloporus poinsettii — WIENS et a. 2010
Sceloporus poinsettii poinsettii — CROTHER et al. 2012
Sceloporus poinsettii — CRUZ-SÁENZ et al. 2017
Sceloporus poinsetti — ETHERIDGE 1964

Sceloporus poinsettii amydrus WEBB 2006
Sceloporus poinsettii amydrus WEBB 2006
Sceloporus poinsettii amydrus — WEBB 2008

Sceloporus poinsettii axtelli WEBB 2006
Sceloporus poinsettii axtelli WEBB 2006
Sceloporus poinsettii axtelli — WEBB 2008
Sceloporus poinsettii axtelli — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009

Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis SMITH & CHRAPLIWY 1958
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis SMITH & CHRAPLIWY 1958
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis — WEBB 1984
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis — TANNER 1987
Sceloporus poinsettii robisoni TANNER 1987 (fide LEMOS-ESPINAL et al. 2002)
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis — BELL et al. 2003
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis — LEMOS-ESPINAL et al. 2004
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis — LINER & CASAS-ANDREU 2008
Sceloporus poinsettii macrolepis — WEBB 2008

Sceloporus poinsettii polylepis SMITH & CHRAPLIWY 1958
Sceloporus poinsettii polylepis — TANNER 1987
Sceloporus poinsettii polylepis — BELL et al. 2003
Sceloporus poinsettii polylepis — LINER & CASAS-ANDREU 2008
Sceloporus poinsettii polylepis — WEBB 2008 
DistributionUSA (S New Mexico, W/C Texas),
Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa)

axtelli: New Mexico and Texas. Type locality: 21 road miles south (TX Hwy 118) of Alpine, Brewster County, Texas. The full verbatim locality in the UTEP catalog adds the phrase “at roadcut.” Using a by-road offset distance from Alpine, that roadcut was determined for this catalog entry, based on a 2020 inspection of the site, to be at 30°07.060'N, 103°34.938'W.

poinsetti: USA (west of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, Texas (according to WEBB 2006), Mexico (Coahuila); Type locality: Rio San Pedro of the Rio Grande del Norte, and the province of Sonora. Restricted to “either the southern part of the Big Burrow Mountains or the vicinity of Santa Rita, Grant Co., New Mexico, USA” (WEBB 1988)

macrolepis: Mexico (Durango); Type locality: El Salto, Durango, Mexico.

polylepis: Type locality: 18 mi. N Escalon, Chihuahua, Mexico.

robisoni: Type locality: Cuiteco, Chihuahua, Mexico.  
Reproductionviviparous (ovoviviparous) 
TypesLectotype: USNM 2952; paralectotype: USNM 2948, designated by Webb 1988
Holotype: UTEP 6190, female, collected by Robert G. Webb, 15 July 1977. [amydrus]
Holotype: UTEP 10613, adult male, collected by Jerry D. Johnson, 17 May 1985 [axtelli]
Holotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 35455, collected in 1952-3 by Barden and I. L. Firschein; paratypes: KU, BYU [macrolepis]
Holotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 21464, collected 25 June 1934 by David Dunkle and Hobart M. Smith [polylepis]
Holotype: BYU 14287, collected 19 July 1958 by W. W. Tanner and W. G. Robison [robisoni]. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Smith 1939: 223.

Description: “Color and Pattern. The top of the head may be mostly patternless pale brown or black, or have a contrasting white-speckled pattern. The rear of the head may be blackish with postocular white bars and a few scattered white spots or the pattern consists of narrow, postocular dark stripes (below) and enlarged pale postocular blotches (above) that indent the sides of a dark, medial, cruciform (X-shaped) blotch. A pale band across the rear of the head between the ear openings (hereafter as the intertympanic band) is usually either complete across the neck, narrowly interrupted medially, or broken into series of closely aligned pale spots, but may be almost absent. A dark transversely oriented nape blotch separates the pale intertympanic band and pale anterior border of the black collar. Pale longitudinal segments may flank the dark nape blotch interconnecting the pale intertympanic band and the anterior border of the black collar. A pale supralabial stripe, extending posteriorly through the ear opening, may be confluent with the lateralmost parts of the pale anterior border of the black collar. The uninterrupted, black, white-bordered collar is of varying width (two to six scales middorsally) with the widest collars having the posterior margin curved or gently angled. A small pale (blue in life) scale (or scales, spot) usually occurs just above the shoulder on the side of the neck within the black collar. White markings occasionally occur within the black collar. The whitish borders (both usually about two scales wide) of the black collar may be narrowly interrupted medially (often by short black streaks, see Fig. 2 in Webb, 1988); the anterior border may be disrupted into a series of spots. Dark crossbands on the back (two to five, usually three or four, excluding sacral band) are of varying width and may be either complete across the back, bifurcated laterally to varying degrees, confined to vertebral blotches, disrupted into a non-banded, irregular pattern of small dark marks, or dorsal surfaces are mostly patternless. Sides of the body (in life) may be yellow, pale orange, or reddish; some body scales otherwise may be reddish, or pale orange, or blue-green. Dorsal body scales may have black edges aligned to form narrow longitudinal lines. Tails are usually marked with contrasting black (widest) and white alternating bands with black bands forming rings (less distinct ventrally) toward the tip of the tail. The underside of the head (throat pattern) in young and subadults of both sexes has a dark blue irregular barred/spotted, or mottled pattern of varying distinctness, often a with a pale longitudinal medial streak; this juvenile pattern may persist in both sexes exceeding 100 mm SVL, but may be mostly absent in some juveniles depending on geographic occurrence. Usually belly patches in females are indicated by either a pale blue wash or are relatively distinct with dark medial borders and with some dark pigment across the throat, on the chest, midventrally, and in the groin; these color patterns are brightest and most extensive in the largest males. The blue-black belly patches may be confluent midventrally in places. The distinctness of blue belly patches is variable iS in some Chihuahuan females; patches may be almost absent (UBIPRO 4024, SVL 92 mm; UBIPRO 4306, SVL 100 mm SVL), restricted posteriorly (UBIPRO 4303, SVL 99 mm), but may be well-developed (UBIPRO 4310, SVL 105 mm). A male (UBIPRO 3707, SVL 84 mm, Chihuahua, enlarged postanal scales) lacks blue belly patches. Lemos-Espinal et al. (2001) also commented on ventral blue coloration in some other Chihuahuan females (absent to strong), and a male (111 mm SVL) having the entire median area black. Adults of both sexes often have (in life) a pale orangish wash concentrated in the preanal-base of tail area (extending onto femora). The peritoneum is black.” (Webb 2006)

Scutellation (species). “The supraocular scales are divided, but the size of the scales of the medial row is variable. The scales of the lateral and medial rows are either subequal in size (Fig. IA) or those of the medial row are often noticeably larger than those of the lateral row tending toward undivided supraoculars (Fig. 1B, C; also in Smith, "1936"[1938]:608, Fig. 15, same in Smith, 1939:223, Fig. 30); one specimen at least (UTEP 14630, east Escalón, Chihuahua) does have undivided supraoculars (Fig. 1D). Adjacent scales of the two rows may be fused forming one undivided supraocular. Two adjacent scales of the enlarged medial row of supraoculars may be fused (UTEP 14657). Occasionally a gap in the row of circumorbitals permits contact of a supraocular and a medial head scale. Dorsal snout scales consist of usually four postrostrals, followed by irregular arrangement of supranasals and internasals (usually four scales between nasals), three frontonasals, and two prefrontal (separated, often by azygous scale, or in medial contact). The frontal is usually transversely divided (entire in UBIPRO 1924, 1933, 1944, 1954). The anterior frontal is either entire or longitudinally divided. The posterior frontal is either entire, divided (longitudinally or transversely), or scutellation is irregular (often subdivided into three scales). Frontoparietals usually number one (or two) and may touch medially (often separated by azygous scale). The posterior dorsal head scales (posterior frontal-frontoparietal area) are frequently and variably irregularly fragmented (Fig. 1B, D); some medial head scales may be irregularly fused (Fig. IC). The maximal extent of head-scale irregularity noted for the species occurs in a male a (UTEP 14655, SVL 115 mm, Sierra Jardin, Coahuila) in which many named scales (canthal-loreal region, frontonasals, prefrontals, anterior half of frontal, parietals) are unrecognizable and fragmented into small irregularly arranged scales. Lateral head scales consist of a subnasal, one or two canthals (counted as two if both touch loreal), one (usually) or two loreals, one or two (rarely fragmented into three) preoculars, and usually two rows of lorilabial scales. Occasional fusion of lateral head scales may involve the anterior canthal and subnasal (MSB 6327, 20504, 20510), the posterior canthal and loreal (RWA 5223), one canthal and loreal (NMSU 6301-02), the lower preocular and loreal (UTEP 8878, 9461), and the lower preocular and subocular (ASNHC 3818, 3823, 3825); the anterior cantal may contact a supralabial thus separating the subnasal and loreal scales (UTEP 13693). The anteriormost sublabial (outer row) infrequently contacts the mental (postmental usually touches first infralabial). Snout scales are usually pitted (variable in extent), except in young. Dorsal body scales along the middle of the back (about 6-7 longitudinal rows) in large adults (exceeding about 110 mm SVL, but occurring at smaller sizes) are mostly smooth (keeled in smaller individuals); Baird and Girard (1852) noted smooth scales the original description of S. poinsettii. Dorsal scales range from 25 to 43, scales around midbody 31 to 47, femoral pores 7 to 16 (one leg) with extremes of 7-7 and 14-16, and fewest number of scales between pore series 6 to 17. Males (with pair of enlarged postanal scales, and larger femoral pores in adults than In adult females) attain a larger size than females (Fitch, 1978, 1981). The largest male examined is 133 mm SVL (UTEP 4457), female 123 mm SVL (UTEP 14599); Ballinger (1973:273) recorded 128 mm for a Texas female. The maximal size of adults of S. poinsettii polylepis is not known to exceed 100 mm SVL.” (Webb 2006)

Recognition (poinsetti). “A subspecies of Sceloporus poinsettii recognized by combination of: (1) distinct crossbands on body (usually four), but most scales pale and dark-edged, (2) dark top of head with distinct, small white spots and markings, (3) dorsal body scales not less than 29 or more than 35, and (4) anterior frontal longitudinally divided (98%). Description. Color and pattern. Sceloporus p. poinsettii is most readily identified by the distinct, pale-speckled, dark (may be near black) top of the head and pale-streaked dark crossbands on the body. Indication of a black cruciform blotch may occur on the rear of the head (Fig. 2, see Comparisons). The pale intertympanic band (one or two scales wide) is complete or interrupted (at least medially) and may be faded or distinct. The anterior and posterior white borders (usually two scales wide) of the black collar may be entire, but both are often narrowly interrupted, at least medially. The posterior margin of the collar is either mostly straight (collar relatively narrow) or curved (collar slightly widened vertebrally); the width of the collar generally encompasses three or four (rarely five) black scales. The black collar may enclose whitish marks (UTEP 9602, Fig. 2). Distinct, dark (usually black) crossbands on the body (usually four, or three) are relatively straight (or slightly undulating), and may be interconnected with narrow dark (near vertebral) segments (Fig. 2). These body crossbands are usually pale-streaked (pale scales with black edges or encircled by black). Pale interspaces between crossbands usually lack dark-edged scales, but such scales may be aligned with those of the crossbands to form continuous longitudinal black lines (AMNH 109129, Fig. 2). Large males have the medial black borders of the blue ventrolateral belly patches attenuated anteriorly from large black groin patches; dusky to blackish pigment may be extensive across the chest and confluent midventrally in places. Adults of both sexes may have the sides of the body washed with pale orange or yellow-orange. New-born young (31-33 mm SVL, UTEP 9605, n = 8, young born to UTEP 9603, both in Fig. 2) have dark dots in the posterior parts of the pale brown crossbands and an indistinct dark-streaked pattern; the juvenile streaked and marbled pattern on the throat is mostly faded and diffuse, but with few distinct bars. Illustrations of dorsal patterns are in Smith (*1936"[1938]:685, Pl. 51, Fig. 1), Behler and King (1979: P1. 354, color), Stebbins (1954:237, P1. 358; 1966:P1. 23, color [same 1985: P1. 27, and 2003: P1. 31, both color] based on specimen from north-west Antelope Wells fide Philip A. Medica, see Appendix, Additional records), Williamson et al. (1994:91, color), and Degenhardt et al. (1996:P1. 51, color).” (Webb 2006)

Scutellation (poinsetti). “The scales of the medial and lateral rows of the divided supraoculars generally are subequal in size; occasionally the scales of the inner (medial) row are somewhat larger than the scales of the outer (lateral) row (e.g., UTEP 10048, 11155, 12429), especially so in UTEP 12418 suggesting undivided supraoculars. The posterior dorsal head scales (posterior frontal-frontoparietal area) are usually irregular in varying degrees; this kind of variation is highlighted by UTEP 12428 in which the two parietal scales are subdivided and UTEP 12429 having the frontoparietals longitudinally divided. The mean number of dorsal scales is 31.9 (29-35, 98% 34 or less, n 202), midbody scales 37.3 (34-42, n = 172), femoral pores 22.0 (18-26, n = 187, both legs) or 11.0 (8-13, n = 382, one leg), and scales between femoral pore series 9.6 (7-12, n = 194). Canthal scales (each side of head, n 405) are more frequently two (61%) than one (39%), occurring in combinations (both sides of head, n = 202) of 1-1 (28%), 1-2 (23%), and 2-2 (49%). Preocular scales (each side of head, n = 408) most often number one (95%), with combinations (both sides of head, n = 204) of 1-1 (92%), 1-2 (5%), and 2-2 (3%). The anterior frontal is longitudinally divided (98%, n = 205). The prefrontals (n = 195) are either separated (53%, most often by an azygous scale) or are in broad medial contact (47%, rarely partly separated by a small azygous scale). The a separation of the anteriormost sublabial scale (outer row) and the mental (each side of head, n = 200) is slightly more frequent (56.5%) than contact of those two scales (43.5%). The largest male is 128 mm SVL (MSB 4212) and female 115 mm SVL (ASNHC 10643). Some minor differences in scutellation occur when the geographic isolate In Hidalgo County (see Distribution) is compared with the large segment of S. p. poinsetti to the north. This Hidalgo sample IS centered in the southern Animas Mountains area (includes all specimens from Hidalgo County except those from just west of Animas and Cotton City). The size of the dorsal scales is about the same in the Hidalgo sample (averaging 31.7, 29-34, n = 51) and in the more northern population (32.1, 29-35, n = 145). In the Hidalgo sample the anteriormost sublabial is separated from the mental (each side of head, n = 54) more frequently (72%) than the two scales are in contact (28%), whereas the respective values, reversed for the northern sample of S. P. poinsettii n 134), are 47% and 53%. The frequency of one or two preoculars (usually one), increases slightly between the Hidalgo sample (each side of head, n= 102) and the northern sample (n 294) with respective values of one preocular 82% and 99%. The prefrontals in the Hidalgo sample (n= 43) are in medial contact (58%) or separated, usually by an azygous scale (42%), but in the northern population (n = 146) the respective values are 44% and 56%. These respective values for the two New Mexico samples (except prefrontals) fit into an overall pattern of north-south geographic variation in the Sierra Made Occidental (see discussion of Morphological Intermediate Variants).” (Webb 2006)

Recognition (macrolepis). “A subspecies of Sceloporus poinsetti identified by combination of: (1) broad dark (mostly solid color) crossbands (usually two or three) on body, (2) top of head mostly patternless, uniformly dark, often black, (3) black collar often enlarged and curved posteriorly, (4) large dorsal body scales not more than 31, and (5) anterior frontal entire (93%), not longitudinally divided. Description. Color and pattern. Sceloporus p. macrolepis has a mostly patternless top of the head, often wide black collar, and broad, unicolor, dark crossbands on the body. The top of the head IS pale to dark brown, often black; some scales may have indistinct pale flecks. Pale postocular blotches are rather indistinct in young, and absent or nearly so in large adults. Pale intertympanic bands are usually interrupted into white spots, but may be faded and indistinct (or almost absent). Anterior and posterior white borders of the black collar (both about two scales wide) are usually entire, not interrupted medially. The black collar is usually lengthened vertebrally (five to six black scales), the posterior border gently curved to somewhat angular. Dark crossbands on the body, usually two or three, are broad and distinct and of solid color, and separated by narrow pale interspaces (one or two scales wide). Rarely crossbands are narrower and four in number, Or some adjacent crossbands are interconnected (MSUM 9334). The posteriormost crossband may be partly fused with the sacral blotch. Pale body scales of interspaces may have dark edges that align with those of crossbands to form longitudinal dark lines. In life the eye is rimmed in pale red and body scales may have a pale orange tinge. Young have a bold, dark blue marbled pattern (mostly irregular barring) on the underside of the head. Variation in IS dorsal patterns is shown in Fig. 3.” (Webb 2006)

Scutellation (macrolepis). “Scales of the divided supraoculars are generally subequal in size, and the posterior frontal and frontoparietals often are not irregularly subdivided (Fig. 1A). The mean number of dorsal scales is 28.6 (25-31, n = 97), midbody scales 35.4 (31-38, n = 87), femoral pores 21.3 (14-27, n = 76, both legs) or 10.6 (7-14, n = 152, one leg), and scales between femoral pore series 9.4 (7-12, n = 66). Canthals (each side of head, n = 148) are usually two (91%), occurring in combinations (both sides of head, n = 74) of 1-1 (8%), 1-2 (1%), and 2-2 (91%). Preocular scales (each side of head, n 148) are most often one (70%) rather than two (30%), with combinations (both sides of head, n = 74) of 1-1 (65%), 1-2 (11%), and 2-2 (24%); in three counts of two preoculars, the area is divided into three scales. The anterior frontal is entire, not divided longitudinally (93%, n 98). The prefrontals (n = 74) are usually in broad contact medially (89%) or are separated (11%, by an azygous scale only in two). The anteriormost sublabial scale (outer row) and the mental are separated (each side of head, 94%, n = 112). Boulenger (1897:480) reported 11-12, 11-12, and 12-12 femoral pores, 29, 27, and 27 dorsal scales, and 36, 37, and 34 midbody scales for three specimens from La Ciudad, Durango. The largest male is 110 mm (UCM 20947, maximal size doubtless much larger) and female 120 mm SVL (RWA 5232); McDiarmid et al. (1976:9) recorded 125 mm SVL (in error) for JFC 69-135 (= CAS 155909), a male of about 100-103 mm SVL (verified by Jens Vindum, pers. comm.).” (Webb 2006)

Description of holotype (amydrus). “Female, 86 mm SVL; dorsal body scales 28 and scales around midbody 36; both anterior and posterior frontal entire; frontoparietals 2-2 and in medial contact; prefrontals in medial contact; canthals 2-2, loreals 1-1, preoculars 1-2, and anteriormost sublabial not touching mental; femoral pores 14-14 with eight scales between pore series. The dorsal pattern of the holotype (overall pale brownish body with slightly darker patternless head, and only dim crossbands on the back) is illustrated in Fig. 5.” (Webb 2006)

Recognition (amydrus). “A subspecies of Sceloporus poinsetti having combination of: (1) top of head pale to dark brownish (or near black) and usually patternless, (2) black collar 2 to 3 scales wide; (3) dorsum in adults mostly uniformly brownish, or an indistinct pattern of faded crossbands (usually four), or with an irregular pattern of dark marks, (4) large dorsal body scales not more than 33, (5) anterior frontal entire (88%), not longitudinally divided, and (6) high average number of femoral pores (12.2, one leg; 24.4 both legs).” (Webb 2006)

Description (amydrus). “Color and pattern. The top of the head is pale to dark brown or near black and is relatively patternless (occasional indistinct white speckling, TNHC 30477-78); the rear of the head may be noticeably darkened. Prominent pale postocular blotches are absent, at most indistinct, in adults, but may be evident in young (UTEP 6184, RWA 6450, MCZ 136442 [Fig. 5]) The pale intertympanic band is either poorly developed or absent in adults (series of white dots in young); this band may be interrupted by two paravertebral dark streaks (UTEP 6045 [Fig. 5], KU 38098). Pale anterior and posterior borders of the black collar are usually entire, but either may be narrowly interrupted medially (MSB 39949). The collar is relatively narrow (about uniform in width) or with a slightly curved posterior border; the black collar usually is two or three, no more than four, scales wide. Pale brownish bodies may be mostly uniform or have either indistinct crossbands (usually four; distinct in MCZ 136437-38, see Fig. 5), often staggered and broken, or a disrupted, irregular pattern of dark marks and spots (scales may be pale with black edges, TNHC 30477). Body crossbands in young are of variable distinctness (see Fig. 5). Dark scale edges aligned to form longitudinal dark lines on the body are usually lacking (present in MSUM 363, 368, 372 of La Pila series). Specimens of the La Pila series overall are dark dorsally owing to occurrence on black boulders (malpais) of the Guadiana Lava Field (Baker, 1960). The underside of the head in young has a dark blue-barred pattern and midventral pale streak (may be slightly faded). Large males (MCZ 136436, about 122 mm SVL, Fig. 5) acquire uniformly blue throats and dark pigment midventrally between blue, black-bordered belly patches. The eye rim of at least some large individuals is reddish in life.” (Webb 2006)

Scutellation (amydrus). “Scales of the divided supraoculars are subequal in size or the scales of the inner (medial) row are larger than those of the outer (lateral) row. Scales of the posterior frontal-frontoparietal area are often not irregularly subdivided. The mean number of dorsal scales is 28.9 (26-33, n = 80), midbody scales 35.8 (32-39, n = 77), femoral pores 24.4 (19-30, n = 79, both legs) or 12.2 (9-16, n = 159, one leg), and scales between femoral pore series 8.9 (6-12, n = 74). Canthals (each side of head, n = 152) are usually two (83%), occurring in combinations (both sides of head, n = 76) of 1-1 (12%), 1-2 (10%), and 2-2 (78%). Preocular scales (each side of head, n = 152) are most often one (81%) rather than two (19%), with combinations (both sides of head, n = 76) of 1-1 (74%), 1-2 (14%), and 2-2 (12%). The anterior frontal is entire, not longitudinally divided (88%, n = 78). The prefrontals (n = 76) are in medial contact (88%) or are separated (12%, by an azygous scale in four of nine). The anteriormost sublabial scale (outer row) and the mental are usually separated (each side of head, 87%, n 150). The largest male IS 123 mm (BYU 13857), largest female 115 mm SVL (UCM 12935). ” (Webb 2006)

Description of holotype (axtelli). “Male, 110 mm SVL; dorsal body scales 35 and scales around midbody 41; anterior frontal longitudinally divided; posterior frontal fragmented into three scales with frontoparietals 1-1 separated by an azygous scale; prefrontals in medial contact; canthals 2-2, loreals 1-1, preoculars 2-2 (3, irregular on left side), and anteriormost sublabial not touching mental on either side; femoral pores 11-11 with 10 scales between pore series. The dorsal pattern (Fig. 6) has indistinct crossbands but dark vertebral blotches on the back and the characteristic head patterns (dark postocular streaks and X-shaped blotch). The belly has a midventral slit and the entire right leg (right foot missing) is internally excised (skin only).” (Webb 2006)

Recognition (axtelli). “A subspecies of Sceloporus poinsettii having a combination of: (1) enlarged pale blotch-like area behind each eye above dark postocular stripe, (2) dark cruciform (X-shaped) blotch on rear of head (sides indented by pale postocular blotches), (3) sexual pattern dimorphism on body (but variable), adult females crossbanded and males with dark vertebral blotches, and (4) dorsal body scales usually about 33-34 (not less than 30, usually less than 36).” (Webb 2006)

Description (axtelli). “Color and pattern. Sceloporus poinsetti axtelli has a contrasting rear-of-head pattern of dark, narrow postocular stripes, enlarged pale postocular blotch-like areas, and a dark cruciform occipital blotch. The pale (whitish) postocular blotches (above the dark postocular stripes) that form the lateral indentations of the dark cruciform or X-shaped occipital blotch, are usually open posteriorly separating (may be only indistinctly connected) the dark postocular stripes and dark X-shaped blotch. The top of the head may be mostly uniformly pale brown with pale and dark shadings, or have darkened supraocular areas. The dark, cruciform blotch may be either interrupted medially or disrupted with pale areas. The moderately distinct, pale intertympanic band, usually complete, may be interrupted by paravertebral black streaks (UTEP8879, 13735, Fig. 6). The black collar has relatively straight borders, is about three or four scales wide, and each of the whitish borders is about two scales wide. The whitish anterior and posterior borders of the black collar are usually entire, but either may be narrowly interrupted medially by black streaks. The anterior pale border of the black collar may be interrupted by a pair of paravertebral dark streaks or by a pair of lateral dark streaks (that connect black collar and dark nape blotch). Body patterns are variable, usually with three (or four) crossbands that may be faded, or have the pigment restricted to dark vertebral blotches (with interspaces of whitish spots, single or paired); crossbands may be of mostly solid color or have some scales pale with black edges. The back may have narrow black longitudinal lines (scale edges black). Although variable, dorsal body patterns of adults (at least exceeding 100 mm SVL) tend to segregate by sex; males have the lateral parts of the crossbands faded with prominent dark (black) vertebral blotches separated by white spots or bars, whereas females have mostly crossbanded patterns but often with vertebral areas also blackened (compare these sexual differences in pattern in Fig. 6). In this regard, all three specimens illustrated in Webb (1988, Fig. 2) from the Rio San Pedro (= Devils River) are males. Newborn young have brownish crossbands. The juvenile pattern on the underside of the head is reduced and indistinct (may be mostly absent), consisting of a fine blue and white marbling, and may have a semblance of a pale midventral streak. Descriptive aspects of new-born Texas young are in Ramsey and Donlon (1949) and Axtell (1950). Photographs of some Texas specimens are in Smith (1946:199, PI. 42), Greene (1970, neonate), Garrett and Barker (1987:Pl. 41, color), and Vermersch (1992, color Pl.).” (Webb 2006)

Scutellation (axtelli). “The supraoculars are divided, but the medial row of scales may be larger than those of the lateral row, and scales of the frontoparietal-posterior frontal region are frequently irregular (Fig. 1B). Scale irregularity is extreme for the species in male S. p. axtelli (UTEP 14655) with some named head scales unrecognizable (see species account). The mean number of dorsal scales is 33.6 (30-37, 98% 36 or less, n = 307), midbody scales 38.0 (33-43, n = 237), femoral pores 20.5 (16-30, n = 280, both legs) or 10.3 (7-16, n = 577, one leg), and scales between femoral pore series 10.3 (7-13, n = 275). Cantal scales (each side of head, n 580) are more frequently two (67%) than one (33%), occurring in combinations (both sides of head, n = 290) of 1-1 (28%), 1-2 (9%), and 2-2 (63%). Preocular scales (each side of head, n 584) are more frequently two (62%) than one (38%), with combinations (both sides of head, n = 292) of 1-1 (32%), 1-2 (12%), and 2-2 (56%). The anterior frontal (n = 292) is entire (54%) or longitudinally divided (46%, irregular on occasion). The prefrontals (n = 286) are usually in medial contact (80%, rarely partly separated by small azygous scale) or are separated (20%, most often by a large azygous scale). The separation of the anteriormost sublabial scale (outer row) and the mental (each side of head, n = 484) is more frequent (84%) than contact of those two scales (16%). The largest male (MSB 21272) is 132 mm, the largest female (ASNHC 1018) 120 mm SVL; Ballinger (1973:273) recorded 128 mm SVL for a Texas female. Comparison of the three largest geographically restricted samples indicates variation in some features of scutellation. The westernmost sample consists of 66 specimens (all UTEP) from the Hueco Mountains, vicinity of Hueco Tanks State Park, El Paso County, Texas. The other Texas sample of 57 specimens (all ASHC) is east of the Pecos River from 7 mi SW and 11-15 mi NW Mertzon, Irion County (Ballinger, 1973). The third smaller sample of 27 specimens (all UTEP) is from across the Rio Grande in the Sierra Jardin in northern Coahuila, México. The number of dorsal scales, midbody scales, and scales between pore series do not vary among these samples. Lizards of the Sierra Jardin population average more femoral pores (22.9, 20-30, n = 24, both legs; 11.4, 10-16, n = 51, each leg) than either the Hueco Tanks (18.9, 16-24, n = 65, both legs; 9.4, 7-12, n = 131, each leg) or the Merton (20.0, 17-24, n = 56, both legs; 10.0, 8-12, n = 113, each leg) populations. Respective values for the Hueco Tanks, Sierra Jardin, and Mertzon populations for the other somewhat variable characters are: anterior half of frontal entire (57%, 54%, 67%), prefrontals in medial contact (79%, 92%, 95%), canthals either one (54%, 23%, 5%) or two (46%, 77%, 95%), preoculars either one (30%, 39%, 51%) or two (70%, 61%, 49%), and sublabial and mental usually separated (100%, 85%, 53%). The high frequency of contact of the sublabial and mental scales in the Merton sample (47%) is matched only in S. p. poinsettii (especially the non-Hidalgo County sample, 53%).” (Webb 2006)

Recognition (polylepis). “A subspecies of Sceloporus poinsetti recognized by combination of: (1) black rear of head with whitish marks; black continuous behind distinct, short, whitish postocular bar (no distinct dark cruciform blotch); (2) sexual pattern dimorphism on body, adult females usually with irregular pattern of pale and dark marks and adult males with black vertebral blotches separated by paired white spots; (3) small dorsal body scales, 37.5 (33-41, 93% 35 or more), (4) anterior frontal entire (90%), not longitudinally divided; (5) maximal SVL not exceeding 100 mm SVL.” (Webb 2006)

Description (polylepis). “Color and pattern. The top of the head and neck are dark, near black thus providing contrasting whitish, narrow and short postocular bars, and nape spotting, the latter usually arranged to form an intertympanic band. The black rear of head is continuous behind the white postocular bars. The black side of the head is sharply demarcated from the pale supralabial area below. A pale dot often occurs on each parietal and the interparietal. The collar is three to five black scales wide, and may have a blue scale within the black collar above the shoulder. The pale anterior and posterior borders of the black collar are about two scales wide, and both are usually narrowly interrupted medially (either pale border may be entire); the anterior border may be broken into a series of spots with the lateralmost spots often having short, lateral anterior extensions. Dorsal body patterns are usually markedly different in males and females (Fig. 7). Males have black vertebral blotches on the body that decrease in size and fade posteriorly; these blotches are separated by whitish, often paired spots that coalesce and likewise become less distinct posteriorly. The largest males may be mostly uniform dorsally or have only an anterior indication of black blotches (UTEP 3702, Fig. 7; RWA 5731-32). Sides of the body are a patternless pale yellowish (usually) or orangish. A small male of 62 mm SVL (UTEP 3614) is not distinctly blotched (Fig. 7) unlike a similar-sized male (UTEP 8913, 62 mm SVL). Dorsal body patterns in females are not distinctly crossbanded, having a variable mixture of scattered pale dots and dark markings (Fig. 1). Some females (no enlarged pair of postanal scales) have dorsal body patterns similar to that in males UTEP 6224, Fig. 7, and UTEP 6085); UTEP 6085 has faded crossbar-like lateral extensions of the black vertebral blotches. Dark longitudinal lines (scale edges) may occur on the body (Fig. 7, UTEP 3614-15). The dorsal, dark crossbanded tail pattern is of variable distinctness, contrasting or not (Fig. 7); the tail may have several narrow crossbands (UTEP 3614, Fig. 7) or is mostly dark with pale flecks (UTEP 3619, 3622). Tails usually lack any ventral pattern, or faded, dark crossbands may occur on the distal part of the tail (RWA 6172, 6194; UTEP 3633, 4327, all males). Ventral surfaces in adult males are pale yellow except for the uniformly blue underside of head (chin region paler), varying degrees of black on chest (may be complete across throat), and blue, black-bordered belly patches; black is extensive in the groin-preanal areas, and may interconnect belly patches in places. Large females have bluish throats (usually with indistinct pale mottling) and blue, dark-bordered belly patches, but colors are not as bright as in males. Juveniles (UTEP 8911, male 32 mm SVL, and UTEP 8912, female 30 mm SVL) have pale postocular bars and a few pale nape scales, pale blue-gray and white mottled throats, and faded blue belly patches; bodies, not noticeably crossbanded or blotched, are mostly patternless with only scattered pale scales and some scattered dark marks.” (Webb 2006)

Scutellation (polylepis). “The supraoculars are divided; the scales of the medial and lateral rows generally are subequal in size, but scales of the medial row may be somewhat larger than those of the lateral row. The posterior dorsal head scales usually are symmetrically arranged, not irregularly subdivided; the posterior frontal is entire (rarely subdivided, UTEP 8913, 18917, 3632), and the frontoparietals are usually 1-1 and separated by an azygous scale (rarely frontoparietals otherwise separated or touching medially). The mean number of dorsal scales is 37.5 (33-41, n = 42, 93% 35 or more), scales around midbody 40.7 (36-47, n = 42), femoral pores 21.2 (16-26, n = 40, both legs) and 10.6 (8-13, n = 82, one leg), and scales between pore series 12.2 (9-17, n=40). Canthals usually number two (99%), and loreals one (93%). Preoculars (each side of head, n 84) are usually one (88%), but occasionally two (7%) or three (5%). The anterior frontal usually is entire (90%, n = 41), the prefrontals in contact (93%, n = 41), and the anteriormost sublabial separated from the mental (96%, n = 84). The largest male is 91 mm SVL (UTEP 3702, Fig. 7) and female 80 mm SVL (UTEP 6085). dinally divided; (5) maximal SVL not exceeding 100 mm SVL.” (Webb 2006) 
CommentOLSON 1998 synonymizes Sceloporus mucronatus with Sceloporus poinsettii.

Similar species: S. torquatus (see SMITH et al. 2000). 
EtymologyThis Latin genitive singular honors the Hon. Joel Roberts Poinsett, who promoted science and the useful arts while Secretary of War of the United States, 1837-1841, and for whom the plant genus Poinsettia was named.

Etymology (amydrus) The subspecies (and common) name is from the Greek amydros (amydr-, indistinct, dim, obscure) in allusion to the indistinct or disrupted (or absent) crossbanded pattern on the body.

Etymology (axtelli). The subspecies name honors Ralph W. Axtell, long-time summer field companion since the early 1960s, who provided most vehicular transportation, who donated many specimens of Sceloporus poinsettii (UTEP) from his private collection, and whose industry has contributed to our knowledge of Texas lizards.

Etymology (macrolepis): The Greek makros, "long," (but often mistakenly, as here, used to mean "large") and lepis, "scale," pertain to the relatively large dorsal scales in this subspecies, compared with other members of the species.

Etymology (polylepis): The Greek polys, "many," and lepis, "scale," refer to the smaller and more numerous dorsal scales in this subspecies than in the nominotypical subspecies.

Etymology (robisoni): This Latin genitive singular honors W. G. Robison, who worked with W. W. Tanner, and earned a Ph. D. at the University of California at Berkeley. 
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