San Esteban Island chuckwalla

This photograph of a San Esteban Island chuckwalla was taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Desert Duets: Chuckwalla Activity Web Page

As you can see, the photograph above is not an image of a Common chuckwalla. Although this San Esteban Island chuckwalla is also from the Sonoran Desert, its coloration is much different from the skin of the Common chuckwalla. What accounts for this difference?

Coloration is one of many adaptations that lizards and other animals develop in order to survive in their habitats. Coloration can also be important to animals' mating rituals.

Conduct research on other Sonoran Desert lizards and their coloration. Did you learn that this variation in color helps lizards camouflage or did you learn it has a role in mating rituals or are there other reasons for their colors?

Here are some possible species for your research: western banded gecko, eastern collarged lizard, long-nosed leopard lizard, zebra-tailed lizard, greater earless lizard, Clark's spiny lizard, desert spiny lizard, side-blotched lizard, tree lizard, regal horned lizard, and canyon spotted whiptail, Sonoran spotted whiptail, and tiger whiptail.

Lizard Name
Common Chuckwalla
black head, neck, and legs with cream, yellow, or orange body
Camouflage - desert areas where they blend into rocks and shadow crevices
San Esteban Island Chuckwalla gray with tan to yellow splotches over entire body Camouflage - desert island where gray rocks are covered with bird droppings - protection from predators

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Launched: February 2008
Updated: 28 July 2012