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Urosaurus graciosus HALLOWELL, 1854

IUCN Red List - Urosaurus graciosus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaPhrynosomatidae, Sceloporinae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesUrosaurus graciosus graciosus HALLOWELL 1854
Urosaurus graciosus shannoni LOWE 1955 
Common NamesE: Western Long-tailed Brush Lizard [graciosus]
E: Arizona Long-tailed Brush Lizard [shannoni]
S: Roñito de Matorral 
SynonymUro-saurus graciosus HALLOWELL 1854: 92
Uta graciosa — BAIRD 1859: 63
Uta gratiosa [sic] — BOULENGER 1885: 213
Uta graciosa — STEJNEGER 1893: 177
Uta graciosa — COPE 1900: 326
Uta graciosa — BURT 1933
Uta graciosa — GLOYD 1937
Uta graciosa — KLAUBER 1939
Urosaurus ornatus graciosus — MITTLEMAN 1942: 144
Urosaurus graciosus — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 144
Uta graciosa — BRADLEY & DEACON 1966
Urosaurus graciosus — STEBBINS 1985: 135
Urosaurus graciosus — LINER 1994
Urosaurus graciosus graciosus — LINER 2007
Urosaurus graciosus — CROTHER et al. 2012

Urosaurus graciosus shannoni LOWE 1955
Urosaurus graciosus — LINER 2007
Urosaurus graciosus shannoni — CROTHER et al. 2012 
DistributionUSA (SE California, S Nevada, SW Arizona),
Mexico (NE Baja California, NW Sonora)

Type locality: “Lower California” [= Southern California]. Restricted to Winterhaven [= Fort Yuma], California, by SMITH & TAYLOR 1950.

shannoni: Type locality: USA: 2 mi W Morristown, Maricopai County, Arizona;  
TypesSyntypes: ANSP 8550-8551, Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia
Holotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 67066, R. Abbuhl and G. Gates; July 27, 1954; paratypes: INHS (= UIMNH) [shannoni] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): “Enlarged supraoculars in a single row; superciliaries 3-6; greatly enlarged vertebral and paravertebral scale rows bordered by smaller scales; supranasal always absent; subcaudals keeled, usually to within 0.5 cm of cloacal aperture: keels of caudal scales run entire length of scale at approxiinately equal height producing a series of continuous parallel longitudinal ridges surrounding the tail; total femoral pores 16-28; interfemorals 8-18; one subnasal; gulars fewer than 40; 3 enlarged frontonasals in single row; three sternal ribs; ventrolateral blue to black belly patch in males.” (Ballinger & Tinkle 1972: 19)

Diagnosis (genus): Mittleman 1942: 110, 124

Fanghella et al. 1975 found sufficient osteological and myological differences between Uta and Urosaurus to support their distinction as separate genera. They specifically compared the anatomy of Urosaurus ornata and Uta s. stansburiana.

Diagnosis: Mittleman 1942: 144

Definition (shannoni). Two to three mid-dorsal scale rows across the rump reduced in size; males with highly contrasting dorsal pattern of 6 to 7 bold black crossbars on gray background. Note that specimens from the eastern part of the range in Arizona can be assigned to either subspecies. (Vitt & Dickson 1988).

The subspecies were distinguished by Stebbins (1985) on the basis of color pattern, which has been demonstrated to be highly variable (Norris and Lowe, 1964).
CommentVITT & DICKSON (1988) questioned the diagnosability of subspecies in U. graciosus.

Type species: Urosaurus graciosus HALLOWELL 1854: 92 is the type species of the genus Urosaurus HALLOWELL 1854.

Distribution: see map in Feldman et al. 2011. 
EtymologyThe species name gracious (Latin) means "most slender," in reference to the streamlined, attenuate body shape. The name shannoni honors Dr. Frederick A. Shannon, a well-known Arizona herpetologist. 
  • Baird, S.F. 1859. Reptiles of the Boundary. In: United States and Mexican Boundary Survey under the Order of Lieut. Col. W. H. Emory, Major First Cavalry, and United States Commisioner. 2, Rept., Pt.2. Department of the Interior, Washington, 35 pp. - get paper here
  • Ballinger, Royce E.; Tinkle, Donald W. 1972. Systematics and evolution of the genus Uta (Sauria: Iguanidae). Miscellaneous publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (145): 1-83 - get paper here
  • Bezy, R. L., P. C. Rosen, T. R. Van Devender, and E. F. Enderson. 2017. Southern distributional limits of the Sonoran Desert herpetofauna along the mainland coast of northwestern Mexico. Mesoamerican Herpetology 4(1): 138–167 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Bradley, W. Glen and James E. Deacon 1966. Amphibian and Reptile Records for Southern Nevada. Southwestern Naturalist 11 (1): 132-134 - get paper here
  • Burt, Charles E. 1933. Some lizards from the Great Basin of the West and adjacent areas, with comments on the status of various forms. American Midland Naturalist 14: 228-250 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Fanghella, Charles; Avery, David F; Tanner, Wilmer W. 1975. Urosaurus and its phylogenetic relationship to Uta as determined by osteology and myology (Reptilia: Iguanidae). Great Basin Naturalist 35 (1): 245--268 - get paper here
  • Feldman, Chris R.; Oscar Flores-Villela, Theodore J. Papenfuss 2011. Phylogeny, biogeography, and display evolution in the tree and brush lizard genus Urosaurus (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61 (3): 714-725 - get paper here
  • Gloyd, Howard K. 1937. A herpetological consideration of faunal areas in Southern Arizona. Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences 5 (5): 77-136 - get paper here
  • Hallowell,E. 1854. Description of new reptiles from California. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 7 [1854]: 91-97 - get paper here
  • Jones, L.L. & Lovich, R.E. 2009. Lizards of the American Southwest. A photographic field guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ, 568 pp. [review in Reptilia 86: 84] - get paper here
  • Klauber, L. M. 1939. Index to the scientific names in studies of reptile life in the arid southwest. Bulletins of the Zoological Society of San Diego 14: 1-2 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal JA, Smith GR, Rorabaugh JC 2019. A conservation checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Sonora, Mexico, with updated species lists. ZooKeys 829: 131-160 - get paper here
  • Liner, Ernest A. 2007. A CHECKLIST OF THE AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF MEXICO. Louisiana State University Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural Science 80: 1-60 - get paper here
  • Lowe, C.H. 1955. A New Subspecies of Urosaurus graciosus Hallowell with a Discussion of Relationships Within and of the Genus Urosaurus. Herpetologica 11: 96-101 - get paper here
  • Mittleman,M.B. 1942. A summary of the iguanid genus Urosaurus. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 105-181 - get paper here
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1899. Contribution a la faune herpétologique de la Basse-Californie. Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Natur.Paris, 4th Series, Vol. 1: 297-343 + plates XI-XIII - get paper here
  • Murray, K. 1953. Notes on the taxonomy and distrubution of the lizard species Uta ornata and Uta graciosa. Herpetologica 9: 110-112 - get paper here
  • Rau,C.S. & Loomis,R.B. 1977. A new species of Urosaurus (Reptilia, Lacertilia, Iguanidae) from Baja California, Mexico. Journal of Herpetology 11 (1): 25-29 - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Stejneger, L.H. 1893. Annotated list of the reptiles and batrachians collected by the Death Valley Expedition in 1891, with descriptions of new species. North American Fauna, No. 7: 159-228 (+ 14 plates + 4 maps) - get paper here
  • Sullivan, Keith and Hunter McCall. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Urosaurus graciosus (long-tailed brush lizard). Herpetological Review 45 (1): 93 - get paper here
  • Villegas-Patraca R, Aguilar-López JL, Hernández-Hernández JC, Muñoz-Jiménez O 2022. Diversity and conservation of terrestrial vertebrates (birds, mammals, and reptiles) of Sierra Cucapá, Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. ZooKeys 1088: 17-39 - get paper here
  • Vitt, L.J. & R.D. Ohmart 1975. Ecology, Reproduction, and Reproductive Effort of the Iguanid Lizard Urosaurus graciosus on the Lower Colorado River Herpetologica 31 (1): 56-65. - get paper here
  • Vitt, L.J. & R.D. Ohmart 1977. Ecology and Reproduction of Lower Colorado River Lizards: II. Cnemidophorus tigris (Teiidae), with Comparisons Herpetologica 33 (2): 223-234. - get paper here
  • Vitt, L.J., R.C. Van Loben Sels & R.D. Ohmart 1978. Lizard Reproduction: Annual Variation and Environmental Correlates in the Iguanid Lizard Urosaurus graciosus Herpetologica 34 (3): 241-253. - get paper here
  • Vitt, Laurie J.; van Loben Sels, Richard C.;Ohmart, Robert D. 1981. Ecological relationships among arboreal desert lizards. Ecology 62 (2): 398-410 - get paper here
  • Vitt,L.J. & Dickson,N.A. 1988. Urosaurus graciosus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 448 - get paper here
  • Werning, H. 2018. Nordamerikanische Kleinleguane – Die Familie Phrynosomatidae. Reptilia 23 (131): 14-19
  • Werning, Heiko 2012. Die Reptilien und Amphibien des Südwestens. Draco 13 (50): 18-60 - get paper here
  • Werning, Heiko 2014. Leguane im „Wilden Westen“. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (2): 16-25 - get paper here
  • Zweifel,R.G. and Norris,K.S. 1955. Contributions to the herpetology of Sonora, Mexico:Descriptions of new subspecies of snakes (Micruroides euryxanthus and Lampropeltis getulus) and miscellaneous collecting notes. American Midland Naturalist 54: 230-249 - get paper here
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