Island night lizard

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Island night lizard
Island Night Lizard, San Nicolas Island, California..JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Xantusiidae
Genus: Xantusia
Species: X. riversiana
Binomial name
Xantusia riversiana
Cope, 1883

The Island Night Lizard (Xantusia riversiana) is a night lizard native to three of the Channel Islands of California: San Nicolas Island, Santa Barbara Island and San Clemente Island. A small number of lizards also live on Sutil Island, near Santa Barbara Island. The San Clemente community is a recognized subspecies, the San Clemente Night Lizard, or Xantusia riversiana reticulata. The Island Night Lizard was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in the United States since 1977; the IUCN lists the species as vulnerable. In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the administrating agency for the ESA, removed the San Clemente subspecies from the ESA. Better control of the munitions-sparked wildlifes may have been a reason. In March 2014, The US Fish and Wildlife Service removed the species from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife. This removal was attributed to the removal of non-native animals such as cats and goats from the islands and partnering between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Navy.

This lizard's preferred habitat is coastal scrub made up of dense boxthorn and cacti thickets. Like other night lizards, it bears live young rather than laying eggs. The island lizards are much larger than their cousins in the genus, the desert night lizards (Xantusia vigilis) of southern California.

The lizards are typically between 2.6 and 4.3 inches in length, not including the tail. They typically live between 11 and 13 years, but some individuals are estimated to have lived 30 years or more. Their color varies from pale ash gray and beige to brown and black. They may have uniform, mottled, and striped patterns.

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