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Behavioral Ecology

Collared lizard - Crotaphytus collaris

collared-male

 

  • 8-12 inches total length
  • Found in open, rocky areas
  • Active during day
  • Very fast - can run on back feet
  • Feed on pretty much any small animal they can catch and swallow
 

collared-map

Interesting fact:
  • Collared lizards are often parasitized by larval chigger mites (the same ones that bite us humans).  Chiggers feed on cellular cytoplasm and not blood, but they are naturally reddish in color.  They also tend to congregate in areas where the lizard's scales are small and thin, such as behind the shoulder, forming distinctive red patches. 
 

collared-hatch

collared-female

 

collared-chiggers

 

  • Female collared lizards have naturally occurring orangish spots when they are gravid (pregnant with eggs).  These spots are very similar in color to chigger mite patches.
  • The male at left has an average sized patch of chiggers on both shoulders.  Chiggers are the only reddish color to be found on males.
  • This particular patch of chiggers was about 7 millimeters in diameter and contained around 500 individual mites.  The patch on his right side was a similar size.