Common collared lizard

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Common collared lizard
Common Collared Lizard.jpg
A male common collared lizard in
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Missouri
Crotaphytus collaris-female basking.jpg
Female in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
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 commonly called eastern collared lizard,[3] Oklahoma collared lizard, yellow-headed collared lizard, and collared lizard, is a North American species of lizard in the family Crotaphytidae. The common 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. There are five recognized subspecies.


C. collaris can grow to 8–15 in (20–38 cm) in total 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.

Geographic range and habitat[edit]

C. collaris is chiefly found in dry, open regions of Mexico and the south-central United States including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. 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, the collared lizard can run on its hind legs, and is a relatively fast sprinter. 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.

The collared lizard in the wild has 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.


Five subspecies are recognized as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies.[2]

Nota bene: A trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Crotaphytus.


The subspecific name, baileyi, is in honor of American mammalogist Vernon Orlando Bailey.[4]



  1. ^ Hammerson GA, Lavin P, Vazquez Díaz J, Quintero Díaz G, Gadsden H (2007). "Crotaphytus collaris ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2007: e.T64007A12734318. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T64007A12734318.en. Retrieved 22 March 2021.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b "Crotaphytus collaris (Say, 1823)". The Reptile Database. Archived from the original on 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  3. ^ Stebbins RC (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series ®. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 0-395-98272-3. (Crotaphytus collaris, pp. 271-272 + Plate 27 + Map 85).
  4. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Crotaphytus collaris baileyi, p. 14).

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Axtell RW, Webb RG (1995). "Two new Crotaphytus from southern Coahuila and the adjacent states of east-central Mexico". Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences 16 (2): 1–15. (Crotaphytus collaris melanomaculatus, new subspecies).
  • Drake, E. C. (1999). Information on the Collared Lizard.
  • Fitch HS, Tanner WW (1951). "Remarks Concerning the Systematics of the Collared Lizard, (Crotaphytus collaris), with a Description of a New Subspecies". Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 54 (4): 548–559. (Crotaphytus collaris auriceps, new subspecies).
  • Ingram W, Tanner WW (1971). "A taxonomic study of Crotaphytus collaris between the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers". Brigham Young University Science Bulletin 13 (2): 1–29. (Crotaphytus collaris fuscus, new subspecies).
  • Powell R, Conant R, Collins JT (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 494 pp., 47 plates, 207 figures. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Crotaphytus collaris, pp. 276–277, Figure 132 + Plate 24).
  • Say T (1823). In: James E (1823). Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, Performed in the Years 1819 and '20, by order of the Hon. J.C. Calhoun, Sec'y of War: Under the Command of Major Stephen H. Long. From the Notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and other Gentlemen of the Exploring Party. Vol. II. Philadelphia: H.C. Carey and I. Lea. 442 pp. (Agama collaris, new species, p. 252).
  • Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback), ISBN 0-307-47009-1 (hardcover). (Crotaphytus collaris, pp. 106–107).
  • Stejneger L (1890). "Annotated List of Reptiles and Batrachians Collected by Dr. C. Hart Merriam and Vernon Bailey on the San Francisco Mountain Plateau and Desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona, with Descriptions of New Species". North American Fauna (3): 103–118. (Crotaphytus baileyi, new species, pp. 103–105 + Plate XII, figure 1).).