Sceloporus merriami

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Canyon lizard
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Iguanidae
Subfamily: Phrynosomatinae
Genus: Sceloporus
Species: S. merriami
Binomial name
Sceloporus merriami
Stejneger, 1904

Sceloporus merriami, commonly known as the canyon lizard, is a species of phrynosomatid lizard native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.


The specific name, merriami, is in honor of American zoologist Clinton Hart Merriam.[1][2]

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in the United States in the state of Texas, and it is found in Mexico in the states of Coahuila, Durango, and Chihuahua.


Adults may reach 58 mm (2.2 in) snout to vent length. Including the tail, they may reach 162 mm (6.4 in) in total length. The dorsal scales are small, and the lateral scales are granular.[3]

Dorsally, the canyon lizard is gray, tan, or reddish-brown, matching the rocks on which it lives. There are four rows of dark spots on the back, and a vertical black line in front of the front leg. Males have blue and black lines on the throat.[4]


The seven recognized subspecies of S. merriami, including the nominotypical subspecies, are:


  1. ^ Beltz, Ellin. 2006. Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained.[1]
  2. ^ 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. (Sceloporus merriami, p. 176).
  3. ^ 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.
    (Sceloporus merriami , pp. 116-117).
  4. ^ Conant R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. xviii + 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Sceloporus merriami, pp. 106-107 + Plate 16 + Map 62).
  5. ^ a b Bell, Edwin L.; Smith, Hobart M.; Chiszar, David (2003), "An Annotated List of the Species-Group Names Applied to the Lizard Genus Sceloporus." (PDF), Acta Zoologica Mexicana, number, 90: 103–174. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Behler JL, King FW. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Sceloporus merriami, pp. 524–525 + Plate 368).
  • Stejneger L. 1904. "A New Lizard from the Rio Grande Valley, Texas". Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 17: 17-20. (Sceloporus merriami, new species).
  • Stejneger L, Barbour T. 1917. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 125 pp. (Sceloporus merriami, p. 55).

External links[edit]