Gulf Coast horned lizard
|Gulf Coast horned lizard|
It was split from Phrynosoma coronatum in 2004 on morphological evidence. The species has a tan rather than chocolate forehead, a fourth 'subrictal' spine below the eyes, and a longer head than other subspecies of P. coronatum. The species is named for Stanford botanist Ira L. Wiggins, who collected what later became the holotype in 1946.
The species' range is restricted to the region around Mulegé and Loreto on the gulf coast side of Baja California Sur, specifically the eastern side of the Sierra de Guadalupe and Sierra de La Giganta.
P. wigginsi lives in similar coastal desert habitats to its close relative P. coronatum, but unlike more distantly related members of the genus. This alignment has been used to illustrate the principle of niche conservatism. It preys on ants and other invertebrates, and, like other Phrynosomatid lizards, has the remarkable ability to squirt blood from its eyes as a defense.
- Montanucci, R. R. (2004). "Geographic Variation in Phrynosoma Coronatum (Lacertilia, Phrynosomatidae): Further Evidence for a Peninsular Archipelago". Herpetologica 60: 117. doi:10.1655/02-100.
- LUXBACHER, A. M. and KNOUFT, J. H. (2009), Assessing concurrent patterns of environmental niche and morphological evolution among species of horned lizards (Phrynosoma). Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22: 1669–1678. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01779.x
- Sherbrooke, Wade C. and Rodriguez, Chris (2010). Defensive blood-squirting behavior of Phrynosoma braconnieri (Short-tailed Horned Lizard). Herpetological Review, 41(2):226-227.
- National Geographic footage of blood squirting from eyes, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE_fZNZjJcQ
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