Angel Island chuckwalla
|Angel Island chuckwalla|
The Angel Island chuckwalla (Sauromalus hispidus) (also known as the spiny chuckwalla) is a species of chuckwalla lizard belonging to the Iguanidae family endemic to Isla Ángel de la Guarda (Angel Island) in the Sea of Cortés. The species was transported to other islands by a tribe of the Seri as a potential food source.
Taxonomy and etymology
The generic name, sauromalus, is a combination of two Ancient Greek words:σαῦρος (sauros) meaning "lizard". and ομαλυς (omalus) meaning "flat". Its specific name hispidus is Latin for "coarse" or "thorny" in reference to the spines on the chuckwalla's tail.
The Angel Island chuckwalla is the second largest species of chuckwalla reaching 44 centimetres (17 in) in body length, 64 centimetres (25 in) overall length and weighing up to 1.4 kilograms (3.1 lb). It is considered a gigantic species as it is two to three times the size of its mainland counterparts. Its body color is a dark brown color with tranverse black bands which fade into a solid darker brown to black color as the animal ages.
Distribution and habitat
Behavior and reproduction
Males are seasonally and conditionally territorial; an abundance of resources tends to create a hierarchy based on size, with one large male dominating the area's smaller males. Chuckwallas defend their territory and communicate with one another using a combination of colour and physical displays, namely "push ups", head-hobbing, and gaping of the mouth.
Angel Island chuckwallas are diurnal animals and as they are exothermic, spend much of their mornings and winter days basking. These lizards are well adapted to desert conditions; they are active at temperatures of up to 102°F (39°C).
Mating occurs from April to July, with 5–16 eggs laid between June and August. The eggs hatch in late September. Chuckwallas may live for 25 years or more.
The Comca’ac considered this species of chuckwalla an important food item. So much so, that the lizards were translocated to most of the islands in Bahia de los Angeles: Isla San Lorenzo Norte, Isla San Lorenzo Sur, and Tiburón Island by the Seri people for use as a food source in times of need.
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