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Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Suborder Sauria
Family Phrynosomatidae

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Phrynosoma anzaense—Anza Horned Lizard // Phrynosoma blainvillii—Blainville's Horned Lizard // Phrynosoma cornutum—Texas Horned Lizard // Phrynosoma coronatum—Coast Horned Lizard // Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard // Phrynosoma modestum—Round-tailed Horned Lizard // Phrynosoma platyrhinos—Desert Horned Lizard // Phrynosoma solare—Regal Horned Lizard

Phrynosoma sp.—Horned LizardsRegional Pleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma sp.

Species of Phrynosoma are useful in that they often are easily identified and tend to inhabit different ecological niches. Phrynosoma hernandesi is adapted for cooler temperatures than the other species of our region. As live-bearers (eggs are retained within body rather than being laid), they can provide sufficient heat for embryonic development by behavioral practices, such as basking in the sun. Egg-layers are at a disadvantage in cool climates, having to depend on sites that are situated to receive sufficient heat.

Sites.

Late Blancan: California Wash (Lindsay 1984).

Irvingtonian/Early Rancholabrean: Archer (Jefferson 1991a).

Rancholabrean: Helendale (Jefferson 1991a).

Wisconsin: Glen Abbey (Majors 1993).

Mid/Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Messing 1986.

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Bat Cave (Scarbrough 1986).

Literature. Jefferson 1991a; Lindsay 1984; Majors 1993; Messing 1986; Scarbrough 1986.

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Phrynosoma anzaense Nowell 1989—Anza Horned LizardRegional Pleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma anzaense

Sites.

Late Blancan/Irvingtonian: Vallecito Creek, Anza-Borrego Desert (Cassiliano 1999).

Literature. Cassiliano 1999.

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Phrynosoma blainvillii Gray 1839—Blainville's Horned LizardRegional Pleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma blainvillii

The current geographic range is from the California Bay Area south into Baja California, mostly west of the Sierra Nevada.

Sites.

?Late Irvingtonian/Rancholabrean: Emery Borrow Pit (Jefferson 1991a).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Rancho La Brea (Brattstrom 1953).

Literature. Brattstrom 1953.

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Literature. Brattstrom 1953.

Phrynosoma cornutum (Harlan 1825)—Texas Horned LizardPleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma cornutum

Pharynosoma cornutum. Photograph by Lauri L. LearThe Texas Horned Lizard is a relatively warm-climate lizard showing a more-or-less typical grassland distribution from northern Kansas south into Mexico and hooking westward across southern New Mexico into southeastern Arizona.

Applegarth (1979) listed a soft soil, a warm climate, and presence of some dense vegetation (grass, bushes, or weeds) as requirements.

Fig. 1. Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum). Photograph by Lauri L. Lear.

Sites.

Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Lost Valley (Harris 1993c).

Mid Wisconsin: Papago Springs Cave (Czaplewski and Mead et al. 1999); U-Bar Cave (Harris 1987).

Mid Wisconsin-Holocene: Shelter Cave (Brattstrom 1964).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Applegarth 1979)

Mid/Late Wisconsin/Holocene:Sierra Diablo Cave (UTEP).

Late Wisconsin: Bison Chamber (Holman 1970); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003); Rocky Arroyo midden, 10,560 ± 150 (Van Devender 1980); TT II (Harris 1993c); U-Bar Cave 14-15 ka (Harris 1989: cf.).

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Burnet Cave (Rickart 1977); Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984); Howell's Ridge Cave (Van Devender and Worthington 1977); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003).

Literature. Applegarth 1979; Brattstrom 1964; Czaplewski and Mead et al. 1999; Harris 1987, 1989, 1993c, 2003; Holman 1970; Mead et al. 1984; Rickart 1977; Van Devender 1980; Van Devender and Worthington 1977.

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Phrynosoma coronatum (Blainville 1835)—Coast Horned LizardRegional Pleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma coronatum

Current distribution of the Coast Horned Lizard is from California's Central Valley south into Baja California.

Sites.

Irvingtonian: Elsinore: Microtus/Mammuthus (Bell 1993).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Diamond Valley (Springer et al. 2009).

Late Wisconsin: Maricopa (Jefferson 1991a).

Literature. Bell 1993; Jefferson 1991a; Springer et al. 2009.

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Phrynosoma hernandesi Girard 1858—Mountain Short-horned LizardPleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma hernandesi

Synonyms. Phrynosoma douglasii. Virtually all of the fossil records of this lizard from our region were recorded under the name Phrynosoma douglasii (often given as Phrynosoma douglassi). Phrynosoma douglasii is now considered to be limited to similar-appearing lizards in the northwestern portion of United States and adjacent Canada, and the former subspecies P. d. hernandesi raised to specific status.

Fig. 1. Mountain Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi). Photograph by Carl S. Lieb.

Mountain Short-horned Lizard, Phrynosoma hernandesi. Photograph by Carl S. LiebWidespread from southern Canada south through to the high Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico, this lizard inhabits grasslands into open forest. Its viviparous habit apparently allows it to occur in many habitats too cold for most lizards. It is absent today from the desertscrub lowlands of southern New Mexico, though it occurs in grassland and woodland at higher elevations.

Dentary of Phrynosoma hernandesi

This is one of the most widespread lizards from the Wisconsin of our region. Applegarth (1979) hypothesized that only this species of lizard was able to thrive at Dry Cave during the pleniglacial; that the other three species noted as present at that time occurred only in small numbers due to marginal soil temperatures for egg development.

Fig. 2. Left dentary of Phrynosoma hernandesi from the Lost Valley site, Dry Cave, Eddy Co., NM. UTEP 1-166.

Sites.

Medial Irvingtonian: SAM Cave (Rogers et al. 2000)

Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Lost Valley (Harris 1993c); Rm Vanishing Floor (Harris 1993c).

Mid Wisconsin: CC:5:2 (Mead et al. 2003); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003); U-Bar Cave (Harris 1987)

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Rickart 1977); NW Talus Slope (Harris 1993c); Sierra Diablo Cave (UTEP).

Late Wisconsin: Algerita Blossom Cave (Harris 1993c); Animal Fair 18-20 ka (Applegarth 1979; Harris 1989); Bison Chamber (Holman 1970); CC:5:4 (Mead et al. 2003); Charlies Parlor (Harris 1989); Dust Cave (this work: cf.); Harris' Pocket (Holman 1970); Sheep Camp Shelter (Harris 1993c); TT II (Harris 1993c); U-Bar Cave 13-14 ka (Harris 1989); U-Bar Cave 14-15 ka (Harris 1989: cf.); U-Bar Cave 15-18 ka (Harris 1989); U-Bar Cave 18-20 ka (Harris 1989).

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Balcony Room (Harris 1993c); Beyond Bison Chamber (Holman 1970); Burnet Cave (Rickart 1977); Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984); Howell's Ridge Cave (Van Devender and Worthington 1977); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003); SAM Cave (Rogers et al. 2000).

Literature. Applegarth 1979; Harris 1987, 1989, 1993c, 2003; Holman 1970; Mead et al. 1984; Mead et al. 2003; Rickart 1977; Rogers et al. 2000; Van Devender and Worthington 1977.

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Phrynosoma modestum Girard 1852—Roundtail Horned LizardPleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma modestum

Round-tailed Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma modestum. Photograph by Carl S. Lieb.This is a predominantly desert species of sparse vegetation and, usually, a gravelly terrain (Applegarth 1979). Applegarth pointed out that the three horned lizard species represent a gradient of preferred habitats, from cool mesic grasslands (P. hernandesi) to warm grasslands (P. cornutum) to open desert terrain and a warm climate (P. modestum).

Fig. 1. Round-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma modestum). Photograph by Carl S. Lieb.

Sites.

Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Lost Valley (Harris 1993c).

Mid Wisconsin: Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003); U-Bar Cave (Harris 1993c).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Applegarth 1979).

Mid/Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Sierra Diablo Cave (UTEP).

Late Wisconsin: Rocky Arroyo midden, 10,560 ± 150 (Van Devender 1980); TT II (Harris 1993c).

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984); Howell's Ridge Cave (Van Devender and Worthington 1977); Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003).

Literature. Applegarth 1979; Harris 1993c, 2003; Mead et al. 1984; Van Devender 1980; Van Devender and Worthington 1977.

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Phrynosoma platyrhinos Girard 1852—Desert Horned LizardRegional Pleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma platyrhinos

Currently, Phrynosoma platyrhinos inhabits western Arizona and to the west and north.

Sites.

Rancholabrean: Cool Water Coal Gasification Solid Waste Site (Jefferson 1991a).

Late Wisconsin: Antelope Cave (Jefferson 1991a); Kokoweef Cave (Jefferson 1991a); Picacho Peak (Van Devender et al. 1991).

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Kokoweef Cave (Jefferson 1991a); Luz Solar Trough (Jefferson 1991a); Solar One (Jefferson 1991a).

Literature. Jefferson 1991a; Van Devender et al. 1991.

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Phrynosoma solare Gray 1845—Regal Horned LizardRegional Pleistocene distribution of Phrynosoma solare

Present distribution is southeastern Arizona with an extension northwest to southern Mohave County and, on the southeast, barely overlapping into New Mexico.

Sites.

Wisconsin/Holocene: Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984).

Literature. Mead et al. 1984.

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Last Update: 26 Mar 2014