Southwestern fence lizard

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South Western Fence Lizard
Sceloporus cowlesi adult male White Sands NM.jpeg
A male Sceloporus cowlesi in New Mexico
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Phrynosomatidae
Genus: Sceloporus
S. cowlesi
Binomial name
Sceloporus cowlesi
Lowe & Norris, 1956
  • Sceloporus undulatus cowlesi
    Lowe & Norris, 1956
  • Sceloporus cowlesi
    Leaché & Reeder, 2002

The southwestern fence lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi ), also known as Cowles' prairie lizard, the White Sands prairie lizard or the White Sands swift, is species of spiny lizard in the family Iguanidae. The species is native to the Chihuahuan Desert of the southwest United States and north-central Mexico. Originally described in 1956 as Sceloporus undulatus cowlesi, a subspecies of the eastern fence lizard,[2] subsequent DNA studies elevated the southwestern fence lizard to species status.[3]

The following cladogram is based on Leaché and Reeder, 2002,[3] and shows the relationship of Sceloporus cowlesi to other species in the "Sceloporus undulatus group".

S. undulatus species group

S. cowlesi

S. cautus

S. tristichus

S. consobrinus

S. woodi

S. undulatus

S. virgatus

S. occidentalis


The specific name, cowlesi, is in honor of American herpetologist Raymond Bridgman Cowles.[4]


  1. ^ "Sceloporus cowlesi ". The Reptile Database.
  2. ^ Lowe, Charles H.; Norris, Kenneth S. (1956). "A subspecies of the lizard Sceloporus undulatus from the White Sands of New Mexico". Herpetologica. 12: 125–127. JSTOR 3889937. (Sceloporus undulatus cowlesi, new subspecies).
  3. ^ a b Leaché, Adam D.; Reeder, Tod W. (2002). "Molecular systematics of the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus): A comparison of parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian approaches". Systematic Biology. 51 (1): 44–68. doi:10.1080/106351502753475871. PMID 11943092. (Sceloporus cowlesi, new status).
  4. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Sceloporus cowlesi, pp. 60-61).