Florida scrub lizard
|Florida scrub lizard|
The adult lizard is about 5 inches long. It is gray or brownish with a longitudinal brown stripe down each side of the body. The male has turquoise patches on the throat and belly. The female usually lacks the throat patches but may have lighter patches on the abdomen.
Courtship and mating occur in spring. The female buries up to 5 clutches of 2 to 8 eggs each. Eggs take about 75 days to hatch, probably depending on ambient temperature. The last hatchlings of the year emerge in November. The lizard becomes sexually mature in 10 to 11 months.
This is a species of the Florida scrub, including evergreen oak and sand pine scrub. It is found less often in the ecotone between scrub and sandhill habitat, flatwoods, and citrus groves. It is most common in dry habitat with open areas for basking and nesting with nearby pines or oaks for shelter. A closed canopy makes the habitat unsuitable.
The species has a disjunct distribution with four main population areas, the Atlantic coast scrubs, the Gulf Coast scrubs, the inland central peninsula, and Ocala National Forest and environs. It occurs on the Lake Wales Ridge. It is common in the Ocala National Forest, but it is slowly declining in most of its range due to loss of habitat. It was more widespread before the intensive development of Florida's scrub zones and sandy ridges. Habitat loss to development, including the establishment of citrus groves, has reduced populations. Fire suppression causes habitat changes such as closure of the canopy, which eliminates the open spaces required by the species.
This species occurs in widely spaced patches of a habitat type that is naturally fragmented, and it does not disperse far from its natal area. The main population groups have remained separate for many thousands of years, causing isolation that has led to the development of high genetic diversity in the species as a whole. During conservation efforts, it is important to maintain such diversity.
- Branch, L. C. and D. G. Hokit. Florida scrub lizard (Sceloporus woodi). Document WEC 139. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension, University of Florida IFAS. Published 2000, revised 2008, reviewed 2012.
- Hammerson, G. A. 2007. Sceloporus woodi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. Downloaded on 21 July 2013.