Common collared lizard

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Common collared lizard
Crotaphytus collaris
Common Collared Lizard.jpg
A common collared lizard in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Missouri
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Crotaphytidae
Genus: Crotaphytus
C. collaris
Binomial name
Crotaphytus collaris
(Say, 1823)

The common collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris), also called eastern collared lizard,[2] Oklahoma collared lizard, yellow-headed collared lizard or collared lizard, is a North American species of lizard from the family Crotaphytidae. with a large head and powerful jaws. The name "collared lizard" comes from the lizard's distinct coloration, which includes bands of black around the neck and shoulders that look like a collar. Males can be very colorful, with blue green bodies, yellow stripes on the tail and back, and yellow orange throats.


Individuals can reach 8–15 in (20–38 cm) in length (including the tail), with a large head and powerful jaws. Males have a blue-green body with a light brown head. Females have a light brown head and body. It is a member of the collared lizard family.

Male collared lizard, with blue-green body and yellow-brown head, at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma

Geographic range and habitat[edit]

Chiefly found in dry, open regions of Mexico and the south-central United States including Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas, the full extent of its habitat in the United States ranges from the Ozark Mountains to Western Arizona.

Cultural Impact[edit]

The collared lizard is the state reptile of Oklahoma, where it is known as the mountain boomer. The origin of the name "mountain boomer" is not clear, but it may be traceable to settlers traveling west during the Gold Rush. One theory is that settlers mistook the sound of wind in canyons for the call of an animal in an area where the collared lizard was abundant. In reality, collared lizards are silent.[citation needed]


Like many other lizards, including the frilled lizard and basilisk, collared lizards can run on their hind legs, and are relatively fast sprinters. Record speeds have been around 16 miles per hour (26 km/h), much slower than the world record for lizards (21.5 mph or 34.6 km/h) attained by the larger-bodied Costa Rican spiny-tailed iguana, Ctenosaura similis.

Collared lizards in the wild have been the subject of a number of studies of sexual selection. In captivity if two males are placed in the same cage they will fight to the death.


  1. ^ "Crotaphytus collaris (Say, 1823)". The Reptile Database. Archived from the original on 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  2. ^ Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin. Boston and New York. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 0-395-98272-3. (Crotaphytus collaris, pp. 271-272 + Plate 27 + Map 85.)


Two black stripes around the neck give these lizards their name.